Distinguished Lecturers
Simeon Man

Simeon Man

Simeon Man is associate professor of History at UC San Diego. His research and writing focus on race, U.S. imperialism, and Asian America. He is author of Soldiering Through Empire: Race and the Making of the Decolonizing Pacific (2018), a history of US militarism and Asian American soldiering in the age of decolonization. The book was awarded Honorable Mention for the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Prize from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and Honorable Mention for Outstanding Achievement in History from the Association for Asian American Studies. His essays have appeared in American Quarterly, Race & Class, Radical History Review, The Abusable Past, and other anthologies.
Man is currently working on two book projects: "Antimilitarism in the Pacific Islands" (under contract with UC Press), and a project on transpacific nuclearism since World War II. His research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University, the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholarship in the Humanities at University of Southern California, and the Hellman Foundation.

OAH Lectures by Simeon Man

Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, colonized territories in Asia, Oceania, and North America experienced new rounds of capitalist integration that entangled them in new relations. Okinawa, Micronesia, Diné Territory, among other places formed the underside of a growing transpacific economy where uranium mining, nuclear weapons storage and weapons testing, nuclear fuel processing and waste dumping were concentrated. This talk explains the transpacific partnerships that made this possible. It also explains what happens when people in these places who had seeming little to do with one another got together, literally or otherwise, and said you can’t have freedom in one place without freedom elsewhere.

This lecture explains how the United States sought to create "Asia for Asians" as the basis for post-WWII national security in the Asia-Pacific, and how that liberal mantra worked its way into US counterinsurgency in Southeast Asia in the 1950s-60s. The lecture concludes by looking at what happens when those called to labor for this imperial project - namely soldiers and military workers - pursued more radical visions and pathways for decolonization.

This talk offers a historical diagnosis of the present moment of resurgent anti-Asian racism, situating it within a longer US history of settler colonialism, imperialism, and racist misogynist violence. It will highlight the role of grassroots activists fighting this systemic violence at its roots, through struggles for affordable housing, for healthcare, against policing, that center the needs and visions of impacted communities.

This lecture examines the histories of colonialism and US state formation that shaped Asian/Americans' desires to serve in the US military in the twentieth century. Participation in militarism offered a pathway to citizenship, but it also inadvertently opened other pathways toward a fuller conception of humanity, premised not on state violence but on internationalist solidarity and freedom struggles in the decolonizing world.

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