On May 8, ESJF held a panel discussion at the 2021 Teaching History Conference, Challenges of Teaching and Learning History: Issues of Pedagogy and Content, hosted by The History Project at UC Davis. The theme of ESJF’s panel was Challenges in Teaching “Comfort Women” History in Ethnic Studies: Moving Toward Transnational and Intersectional Pedagogies for Justice.
Following the brief overview of the history of the Japanese military sexual slavery system before and during WWII, the panelists discussed the public awareness of this history; the ways people have fought back successfully to preserve the history and legacy of the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery through collective academic activism against the Japanese government’s various interferences; the deep relevance of teaching this topic through the lens of ethnic studies; lesson ideas; and some recommendations. The panel ended with a personal testimony of Angel Truong, a UC Davis alumna who graduated from Asian American Studies. She said, “If I took ethnic studies at a younger age [instead of waiting to take it at college], it would have made me think more about my identity and what I wanted in life as an individual as to how to help my community. I wouldn’t have been so worried and pressured about what others thought of me.” Angel added how she was deeply moved by Bok-Dong Kim’s message, “Keep fighting for me!” One of the panel attendees commented that our session was one of the most powerful ones at the conference.