Asian American Studies Spring Lecture Series

"Asian American Women: An Understudied Minority" led by Dr. Mimi Nguyen Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies, UI-UC 

This talk asks, among other questions, what is the promise of beauty for habituation in disastrous situations where a life that can be lived is hard to hold? Part humanitarian intervention and part performance, the 2009 Miss Landmine pageant in Cambodia followed from a not uncommon faith that beauty is both a humanitarian problem and also its solution. From the sprawling international complex that funds and conducts prosthetic manufacturing, rehabilitation and vocational training, infrastructural development and cultural programming, through to the aesthetic and moral discourses of rights, capacities, humanitarianism and humanity, all must be in place for this pageant to promise beauty. I focus narrowly on the pageant’s maxim, everyone has the right to be beautiful , which attests to the degree to which rights almost exclusively model claims to universality and the subject of freedom. Such claims follow from the constellation of modern powers that presume to adjudicate humanity, in which the human is the effect of rights, animated by the law, and through which those who have been abandoned or outcast through the law’s absence or suspension can be redeemed. That beauty also operates as a measure of humanity and its others dares us to consider beauty alongside other rights on whose behalf we intervene against what terrors might follow in their absence.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM

Asian American Resource Center
375 Wirtz, DeKalb, IL 60115

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