‘Justice and Asia’ projects flourish in 2019-20

Author: Liu Institute

The Liu Institute’s guiding theme of “Justice and Asia” expanded in the 2019-20 academic year with the approval for a new project and the growth of two existing projects.

“Theatre for Justice in Asia: Past, Present, Future”

Theatre Photo

Led by Anton Juan and Tarryn Chun, professors in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, this new project 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. 

“Comfort Women and Their Right of Recognition: Remedial Responsibility of the South Korean Political Community”


Minju Kwon and Jeong-Hwan Bae, political science doctoral students, are the only students to have received “Justice and Asia” funding thus far. Their research led to a paper arguing that the political struggle of Korean “comfort women,” the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery in World War II, is best characterized as a struggle for recognition. Based on philosopher Emmanuel Kant’s moral framework, perpetrators and moral equals would acknowledge that the women’s fundamental moral status was disrespected. Solutions would also include condemning injustice and acknowledging the women’s status as victims. 

Additionally, the paper explains the victims’ transformation into human rights activists. Bae and Kwon presented the paper in October 2019 at the Seoul National University Center for International Political Thought.

“Energy, Justice, and Fukushima: A Multidisciplinary, Multi-Sector Collaboration”

Fukushima Photo 1

Launched in the 2018-19 academic year, this project examines the Fukushima triple disaster of 2011 (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown) to holistically address recovery from large-scale natural disaster and related effects. Noriko Hanabusa, East Asian Languages and Cultures; Kevin Walsh, Civil Engineering; and Jessica McManus Warnell, Management & Organization, conducted fieldwork in Fukushima in summer 2019, where they visited two towns that are being repopulated, interviewed businesspeople, met with corporations, and collaborated with university professors. 

The project expanded in 2019-20 with the addition of Anna Geltzer, Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, to the faculty team and the selection and training of 10 undergraduates to participate in the research in summer 2020. The coronavirus pandemic prohibited the project from moving forward as planned.