Added: August 10, 2013 – Last updated: March 5, 2016


Author: Anna Song

Title: The Task of an Activist

Subtitle: "Imagined Communities" and the "Comfort Women" Campaigns in Australia

Journal: Asia Studies Review

Volume: 37

Issue: 3

Year: 2013 (Published online: June 18, 2013)

Pages: 381-395

ISSN: 1035-7823 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1467-8403 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | Asian History: Japanese History; Oceanian History: Australian History | Types: Forced Prostitution / "Comfort Women"; Types: Wartime Rape / Asia-Pacific War


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »From 2006 to 2010, I was an activist who organised grassroots campaigns about the so-called “comfort women” in Australia. During the course of these campaigns, this issue was framed in different ways by the Asian diaspora and feminist communities who supported the cause. Beginning with the premise that the human rights activist community is not harmonious or homogenous, nor is it organically formed, I ask the question: what is the task of an activist when faced with diverse and disconnected sources of support for our shared cause? I draw on adaptations of the concept of “imagined community” (Anderson, 1983, p. 7) by Ien Ang and Chandra Talpade Mohanty to discuss this question. I conclude that an activist must not be guided by an emotive and broad sense of “justice” alone. Rather, his or her key task is to seek localised and interdisciplinary knowledge and identity from the particular location of activism in order to mediate between the different “frames of meaning” in diverse communities.« (Source: Asia Studies Review)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Japan | Prostitution: Forced prostitution / Comfort women | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: Pacific War / Japanese war crimes