Destruction of the Arch of the Rising Sun and Nations of the East sculpture group, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1916. Photograph by Cardinell + Vincent Co. Collection of the San Francisco Public Library.

Monday, October 3, 2022 - 2:00pm

Dissertation Defense - Serena Qiu, "Imperial Objects and Transpacific Subjects: Japan, China, and the United States at World's Fairs 1867-1915"

Imperial Objects and Transpacific Subjects argues that the world-making of world's fairs created a set of imperialist terms that shaped the concept of a transpacific empire in the late nineteenth century. By creating an historical throughline linking the fairs of 1876, 1893, 1904, and 1915, this project tracks the development of the United States’ imperial ambitions in relation to those of China and Japan, and their collective impact upon the diasporic communities residing in the imperial mainland. This project serves two purposes. First, to propose that the control of representational legibility, the disciplinary function of new epistemologies, and the material reproduction of hegemonic ideologies were expositionary tools through which the United States, China, and Japan negotiated uneven distributions of transpacific power. Second, to demonstrate how Asian Americans became visualized as a racial category in this transpacific representational space, and explore the consequences of that visibility in US legislation, expansionist imperial capitalism, academic knowledge production, and the long afterlives of the expositions.