Justice & Asia

Justice and Asia

In accordance with our strategic plan, the Liu Institute is committed to examining and supporting work on the theme “Justice and Asia” during the next five years (2019-23) from a wide range of perspectives: social, political, economic, cultural, historical, and linguistic, among others.

“Liu fellows are questioning and expanding the concept of justice, especially through comparative and multidisciplinary perspectives. Their projects couldn't be more timely and important.”—Michel Hockx, Liu Institute director

The concept of justice resonates strongly with Catholic social teaching, as well as with the values of Asian philosophical and religious traditions. Justice is universally understood and innately experienced. It is also foundational to integral human development, the guiding principle of the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Specifically, the Institute will encourage the examination of the “Justice and Asia” theme by supporting interdisciplinary research, meaningful events, new courses, social engagement projects, policy initiatives, invitations to visiting scholars, and appointments of postdoctoral fellows.

Flagship Projects


“Energy, Justice, and Fukushima”

Jessica McManus Warnell, Business
Noriko Hanabusa, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Kevin Walsh, Engineering 
Anna Geltzer, Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values
Sisi Meng, Global Affairs
Amy Hixon, Engineering

"Energy, Justice & Fukushima: A Multidisciplinary, Multi-Sector Collaboration” is a teaching and research project that explores the Fukushima region of Japan within the context of environmental justice. The project examines the recovery from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that necessitated evacuation of the region. It explores dimensions of energy policy and practice with a focus on the Fukushima region and related implications for other communities within Asia and beyond.

Key areas of attention include the business community’s role in the nuclear disaster and its response; the interface between businesses, the NGO community and citizens of the region; the implications of language, culture and historical context on the experiences of the disaster; and the issues of resiliency and sustainability in the face of energy policies and practice. 

Korean Peace Statue Cropped

“Comfort Women and Their Right of Recognition”

Minju Kwon, Political Science
Jeong-Hwan Bae, Political Science

“Comfort Women and Their Right of Recognition: Remedial Responsibility of the South Korean Political Community” is a short-term research project that examines restorative justice for Korean women who were victims of the Japanese military’s sexual slavery during World War II. The project begins with the observation that the political struggle of “comfort women” can be characterized as a struggle for recognition—the acknowledgement of one’s unconditional moral worth and dignity. The project articulates a restorative justice that addresses historical injustice between nations. 

The project formulates a new theory concerning the responsibility of the victims’ own political community, not just the country that perpetuated the injustice. According to theory put forward, the South Korean community, though it didn’t perpetuate harm against the “comfort women,” shares the obligation to remedy the victims’ sense of moral worth and dignity. The study suggests that the practice of building memorials or standing in solidarity with victims can be best understood as the fulfillment of justice, not an act of charity.

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“Theatre for Justice in Asia”

Anton Juan, Film, Television, & Theatre
Tarryn Chun, Film, Television, & Theatre

"Theatre for Justice in Asia: Past, Present, Future," approved in spring 2020, will explore how playwrights and theatre practitioners in Asia use their craft to speak truth to power and advance social justice. The project will bring together contemporary playwrights from East and Southeast Asia with scholars, critics, and members of the Notre Dame community. The initial phase will involve playwrights in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines to stage readings on campus with student actors. The eventual goals are an international conference at Notre Dame and a two-volume anthology of plays and critical essays to expand access to marginalized voices.  

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