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More-than-Human Terrain: U.S. Militarism and the Racial Logics of Cold War Science in Southeast Asia | AASP Winter Speaker Series

When: Tuesday, February 7, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM CT

Where: Crowe Hall, 1-132, 1860 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Mun   (847) 467-7114

Group: Asian American Studies Program

Category: Academic


TALK BY KEVA X. BUI: More-than-Human Terrain: U.S. Militarism and the Racial Logics of Cold War Science in Southeast Asia

Drawing from their current book project, Keva X. Bui examines the development of herbicides (most infamously Agent Orange) as racialized technologies of U.S. militarism in Southeast Asia during the Cold War. While the term “human terrain” was coined by military strategists to describe the anthropological study of people who inhabit zones of military operation, this talk advances a framework of “more-than-human terrain” to theorize how U.S. military science classifies environments of Southeast Asia as unruly ecologies in need of chemical subjugation. Tracing the herbicide’s archival residues as it is conceptualized within military documents, scientific reports, environmental justice movements, and Hmong American poet Mai Der Vang’s collection Yellow Rain (2021), Bui demonstrates how dominion over enemy ecologies redeploys more-than-human relationships into military-industrial projects of scientific and technological development.

Keva X. Bui is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian American Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University. They hold a PhD in Ethnic Studies with a graduate certificate in Critical Gender Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Their book-in-progress, Terrains of the Experimental War, situates U.S. Cold War military science within a genealogy of racial science, arguing for a need to understand how scientific dominion over ecologies in Asia and the Pacific underscored the racial logics of military and capitalist intervention. Keva’s writing can be found in Amerasia and Verge: Studies in Global Asias amongst other venues. They have previously served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Asian American Studies and are a current member of the Missing Piece Project collective.

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