UBC Library and Archives

Japan and the Special Olympics and Obama and §: Re-Circulating Minorities, Margins, and Mainstages in Modern Japan Creighton, Millie


Webcast Sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Sociology at UBC. The Winter Olympics–as occurring in Vancouver, Canada in 2010, and the 2008 election of Barack Obama–as President of the United States, reflect globalizing insights on movements surrounding minorities and marginalization in Japan that contest hierarchies of people and of space and place. This talk explores dynamics involved when Japan, a society where the disabled were once hidden (relegated to the “back recesses”), took the lead in being the first (and still only) country to host the Special Olympic World Winter Games at the same sites as the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is discussed in reference to other “coming out” movements of people with disabilities in Japan, and to President Obama’s comments on Special Olympics in a US popular culture television interview. The linkage of Obama and the Special Olympics circles back to Japan, through analysis of how, why and to what extent the US Presidential election of Obama (the “Back Horse”) coverage in Japan reflected a momentous change from prior projections of racial hierarchies and previously presented images of Blacks.

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