Why have ideals of racial justice been regularly offered as justifications for the expansion of U.S. power, across the Pacific and around the world? How do spectacular forms of violence set the conditions by which race and racial justice are perceived? What’s left to learn from histories of 20th century Afro-Asian relations now that their visions of the world’s liberation by its “darker races” survive mainly in negation or nostalgia? In Strange Fruit of the Black Pacific, Vince Schleitwiler reads the intersections of Japanese American, African American, and colonial Filipino migrations across US domains in the 20th century, pursuing the poetic and ethical challenge of reading, or learning how to read, literatures that take form and flight within the fissures of the inextricable processes of benevolence and sexualized violence he terms “imperialism’s racial justice.”
A fourth-generation Japanese American, Vince Schleitwiler was raised in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, and received his PhD in English from UW. His scholarship in comparative ethnic studies has been published in African American Review, Amerasia Journal, and Comparative Literature, among others. Before returning to UW as an Acting Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies this past fall, he taught at Williams College and the University of Southern California, and served as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Art and Thought, producing a set of serial essays for a blog, City of Refuge.