Thursday, August 15, 2013

New book from faculty member

Associate professor, Aya H. Kimura's new book was released by Cornell University Press. 

For decades, NGOs targeting world hunger focused on ensuring that adequate quantities of food were being sent to those in need. In the 1990s, the international food policy community turned its focus to the "hidden hunger" of micronutrient deficiencies, a problem that resulted in two scientific solutions: fortification, the addition of nutrients to processed foods, and biofortification, the modification of crops to produce more nutritious yields. This hidden hunger was presented as a scientific problem to be solved by "experts" and scientifically engineered smart foods rather than through local knowledge, which was deemed unscientific and, hence, irrelevant.

In Hidden Hunger, Aya Hirata Kimura explores this recent emphasis on micronutrients and smart foods within the international development community and, in particular, how the voices of women were silenced despite their expertise in food purchasing and preparation. Kimura grounds her analysis in case studies of attempts to enrich and market three basic foods—rice, wheat flour, and baby food—in Indonesia. She shows the power of nutritionism and how its technical focus enhanced the power of corporations as a government partner while restricting public participation in the making of policy for public health and food. She also analyzes the role of advertising to promote fortified foodstuffs and traces the history of Golden Rice, a crop genetically engineered to alleviate vitamin A deficiencies. Situating the recent turn to smart food in Indonesia and elsewhere as part of a long history of technical attempts to solve the Third World food problem, Kimura deftly analyzes the intersection of scientific expertise, market forces, and gendered knowledge to illuminate how hidden hunger ultimately defined women as victims rather than as active agents.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Japan After 3.11: Change and Hope from the Center of Triple Disasters

March 10 (Sunday) 2:00-4:30 Center for Korean Studies Auditorium

The Departments of Women’s Studies and Religion along with participating community groups will host a special event, Japan After 3.11: Change and
Hope from the Center of Triple Disasters
, a public symposium to commemorate the second anniversary of the 3.11 triple disasters (earthquake, tsunami,
and nuclear crisis) that devastated the North Eastern region of Japan.

Speakers will include Yuko Nishiyama, a Fukushima mother and activist, who will discuss her experience of the nuclear crisis and the struggles evacuees face. Kelsey Soma Turek, from the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, will address Rainbow for Japan Kids, a program that brings children from the effected regions of Japan to Hawaii for respite. We will also have a
video message from Senator Mazie Hirono who was born in Fukushima Prefecture.

Donations for Rainbow for Japan Kids and Minna no Te will be accepted.

Free and open to public.
Light refreshments will be served.
Parking on campus is free. 

Cosponsored by College of Social Science, Departments of Religion, Women’s Studies, Center for Japanese Studies,  and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

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Friday, December 10, 2010

New Course Spring 2011

Selected Topics WS 495 (TR 1:30-2:45)

Have you thought about women workers behind your tomatoes?

Gender relations in Fair Trade coffee?

Interested in local, national, and global food and agricultural issues? Body image and eating disorder? This special topics course examines a range of cultural, socio-economic and political issues related to food, agriculture, and body in the US and how they intersect with race, nation and gender.

Key course themes that are addressed from diverse disciplinary and conceptual frameworks include: nutritional science and home economics; culinary nationalism; corporate control of food and farming; women in alternative food movements; women farmers; governance of the agrifood system; food democracy; food sovereignty, body image; dieting.

T/R 1:30-2:45

Contact Aya Kimura at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New York Times article by Meda Chesney-Lind and Mike Males

April 2, 2010, New York Times
Op-Ed Contributors

The Myth of Mean Girls


IF nine South Hadley, Mass., high school students — seven of them girls — are proved to have criminally bullied another girl who then committed suicide, as prosecutors have charged, they deserve serious legal and community condemnation.

However, many of the news reports and inflamed commentaries have gone beyond expressing outrage at the teenagers involved and instead invoked such cases as evidence of a modern epidemic of “mean girls” that adults simply fail to comprehend. Elizabeth Scheibel, the district attorney in the South Hadley case, declined to charge school officials who she said were aware of the bullying because of their “lack of understanding of harassment associated with teen dating relationships.” A People magazine article headlined “Mean Girls” suggested that a similar case two years ago raised “troubling questions” about “teen violence” and “cyberspace wars.” Again and again, we hear of girls hitting, brawling and harassing.

But this panic is a hoax. We have examined every major index of crime on which the authorities rely. None show a recent increase in girls’ violence; in fact, every reliable measure shows that violence by girls has been plummeting for years. Major offenses like murder and robbery by girls are at their lowest levels in four decades. Fights, weapons possession, assaults and violent injuries by and toward girls have been plunging for at least a decade.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, based on reports from more than 10,000 police agencies, is the most reliable source on arrests by sex and age. From 1995 to 2008, according to the F.B.I., girls’ arrest rates for violent offenses fell by 32 percent, including declines of 27 percent for aggravated assault, 43 percent for robbery and 63 percent for murder. Rates of murder by girls are at their lowest levels in at least 40 years.

The National Crime Victimization Survey, a detailed annual survey of more than 40,000 Americans by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, is considered the most reliable measure of crime because it includes offenses not reported to the police. From 1993 through 2007, the survey reported significant declines in rates of victimization of girls, including all violent crime (down 57 percent), serious and misdemeanor assaults (down 53 percent), robbery (down 83 percent) and sex offenses (down 67 percent).

Public health agencies like the National Center for Health Statistics confirm huge declines in murder and violent assaults of girls. For example, as the number of females ages 10 to 19 increased by 3.4 million, murders of girls fell from 598 in 1990 to 376 in 2006. Rates of murders of and by adolescent girls are now at their lowest levels since 1968 — 48 percent below rates in 1990 and 45 percent lower than in 1975.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Intimate Partner Violence in the United States survey, its annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety, the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey and the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance all measure girls’ violent offending and victimization. Virtually without exception, these surveys show major drops in fights and other violence, particularly relationship violence, involving girls over the last 15 to 20 years. These surveys also indicate that girls are no more likely to report being in fights, being threatened or injured with a weapon, or violently victimizing others today than in the first surveys in the 1970s.

These striking improvements in girls’ personal safety, including from rape and relationship violence, directly contradict recent news reports that girls suffer increasing danger from violence by their female and male peers alike.

There is only one measure that would in any way indicate that girls’ violence has risen, and it is both dubious and outdated. F.B.I. reports show assault arrests of girls under age 18 increased from 6,300 in 1981 to a peak of 16,800 in 1995, then dropped sharply, to 13,300 in 2008. So, at best, claims that girls’ violence is rising apply to girls of 15 to 25 years ago, not today.

Even by this measure, it’s not girls who have gotten more violent faster — it’s middle-aged men and women, the age groups of the many authors and commentators disparaging girls. Among women ages 35 to 54, F.B.I. reports show, felony assault arrests rocketed from 7,100 in 1981 to 28,800 in 2008. Assault arrests among middle-aged men also more than doubled, reaching 100,500 in 2008. In Northampton, the county seat a few miles from South Hadley, domestic violence calls to police more than tripled in the last four years to nearly 400 in 2009. Why, then, don’t we see frenzied news reports on “Mean Middle-Agers”?

What’s more, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention concluded that girls’ supposed “violent crime increase” in the ’80s and ’90s resulted from new laws and policies mandating arrests for domestic violence and minor youth offenses “that in past years may have been classified as status offenses (e.g., incorrigibility)” but “can now result in an assault arrest.” Thus, the Justice Department found, increased numbers of arrests “are not always related to actual increases in crime.”

This mythical wave of girls’ violence and meanness is, in the end, contradicted by reams of evidence from almost every available and reliable source. Yet news media and myriad experts, seemingly eager to sensationalize every “crisis” among young people, have aroused unwarranted worry in the public and policy arenas. The unfortunate result is more punitive treatment of girls, including arrests and incarceration for lesser offenses like minor assaults that were treated informally in the past, as well as alarmist calls for restrictions on their Internet use.

Why, in an era when slandering a group of people based on the misdeeds of a few has rightly become taboo, does it remain acceptable to use isolated incidents to berate modern teenagers, particularly girls, as “mean” and “violent” and “bullies”? That is, why are we bullying girls?

Mike Males is senior researcher at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Meda-Chesney Lind, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, is the co-editor of the forthcoming “Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence.

Monday, September 21, 2009

09-25 Sonia Amin Public Lecture

SONIA NISHAT AMIN: Revisiting the Trauma of 1971: Selina Parveen in the Killing Fields of Rayer Bazaar

UHM Women’s Studies Colloquium Series Fall 2009
A presentation and discussion by:
Professor Sonia Nishat Amin
Department of History at the University of Dhaka and the Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair at the UHM School of Pacific and Asian Studies

Friday, 9/25/09
Saunders 637

This paper attempts to reconstruct the struggle of poet, journalist, editor and Freedom Fighter, Selina Parveen leading up to her tragic death at the hands of the Pakistani army and their collaborators in Bangladesh's War of Liberation, 1971. Selina Parveen is one of the few women who have been honoured by the commemorative stamps issued by the state in remembrance of the 'Martyred Intellectuals'. Yet her life story is often obliterated by the amnesia of historians who tend to gloss over the role of women in history. In this paper I would like to briefly reconstruct the trajectory of Parveen's life and struggle as part of the Bengalee Resistance in 1971 - from the start of her career as an independent journalist to the last moments of her brutal death in the killing fields of Rayer Bazaar.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall 2009 Women's Studies Colloquium Schedule

Fall 2009 Colloquium Series

09/11 Kimberlee Bassford (filmmaker) discusses Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority

* co-sponsored with the Center for Biographical Studies, the Bridge to Hope Program, UHM Women’s Center, the UHM Archives Department and the UHM Political Science Department

09/18 Anne Keala Kelly (filmmaker) discusses Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai`i

10/02 Michael J. Shapiro (UHM-Political Science) “Mother’s Talk and Mother’s Arms: Edward P. Jones’ Washington, DC

· co-sponsored with the Political Science Department

10/16 Kathryn Davis (UHM-Second Language Studies) TITLE TBA

10/23 Elyssa Faison (University of Oklahoma-History) “Gender and Labor in Korea

· co-sponsored with the UHM Center for Korean Studies

11/13 Brianne Gallagher (UHM-Political Science) “The Blog of War: (Re)producing U.S. Soldiers in an Age of Terror”

· co-sponsored with the Political Science Department

12/04 Women’s Studies Capstone Presentations


All colloquia take place at Saunders Hall, Room 637 from 12:30-2pm on the (Friday) date noted above. Please contact Bianca Isaki ( for more information.