AGENT ORANGE AND THE POLITICS OF POISONS (November 1 & 2, 2014)
BACKGROUND: Okinawa occupies a pivotal - if tragic - position in the international history of biological and chemical weapons. During the US military's control of Okinawa between 1945 and 1972, the Pentagon tested biological weapons on the island and stored its largest stockpile of chemical munitions outside the continental United States. According to veterans and military documents, Agent Orange was also kept on Okinawa during the Vietnam War when the island served as a forward staging post for the conflict. In 1969, a leak of nerve gas on Okinawa sickened U.S. service members and sparked far-reaching ramifications. It forced Washington to acknowledge its overseas storage of these poisons and prompted President Nixon to renounce the offensive usage of biological armaments. For more than four decades, the presence of these weapons of mass destruction on Okinawa has been accompanied by a sustained disinformation campaign by the U.S. authorities. Only today are many people beginning to fully understand the legacy of these toxins, which continue to threaten the island, the health of its current residents, and military veterans who formerly served there. From nerve gas in Syria to dioxin hotspots in South Vietnam and toxic Superfund sites across the continental U.S., today weaponized chemicals continue to haunt humankind - destroying biological systems and maiming the innocent.
PURPOSE: Against this backdrop, the Graduate School of Intercultural Communication, Okinawa Christian University, will host an international conference on poisons as weapons of warfare to learn more about their impact on humans and other life forms, the environment, international relations, and the governments that deploy them. The core aim of this conference is to enact dialogues that serve to reveal truths long concealed and/or distorted by special interests. It sets out to cast a critical light on these chemicals which persist in poisoning all they touch long after the guns of war have fallen silent.
ABSTRACT DEADLINE: June 30, 2014
ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS: Abstracts should not exceed 300 words - excluding the title of your presentation, your professional affiliation, e-mail address, and (international) phone number.
The organizers invite conference papers on the following themes (in no way exhaustive):
1. communication strategies employed to conceal truth
2. ongoing costs (social, ethical, medical, economic, political)
3. chemical weapons programs
4. environmental issues
5. public and/or personal health concerns
6. (inter)national bans, treaties
8. secrecy of programs
9. special (vested) interests
11. peace studies