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  • MEAL 1

Settler Garrison: Debt Imperialism, Militarism, and Transpacific Imaginaries

Speaker: Jodi Kim

Professor | Department of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside

Moderator: Claire Gullander-Drolet

Postdoctoral Fellow | Society of Fellows in the Humanities | University of Hong Kong

DATE: 16 NOV (WED) 10:30 am–12:00 pm (Zoom, HKT)

This talk analyzes how the film Parasite (2019) dramatizes the four interlocking concerns of my book. First, the film connects the South Korean modalities of racial capitalism to what I conceptualize as US militarist settler imperialism, or the conjunction of US settler colonialism and military empire heavily concentrated in Asia and the Pacific in the post–World War II era. Second, Parasite also makes visible that the US can exercise certain jurisdictional and sovereign powers in specific locales or spatial exceptions across Asia and the Pacific that it has transformed into what I call the settler garrison. Third, Parasite makes visible how US militarist settler imperialism also relies upon a temporal exception of debt imperialism, the counterintuitive process through which the US is able to leverage its massive debt as a form of power and create a temporal exception for itself of perpetual non-repayment. Fourth, Parasite dramatizes how the transpacific imaginaries of cultural forms at once mediate, critically magnify, and gesture to worldmakings beyond the violence of US militarist settler imperialism through an aesthetics of settler imperial failure.

Jodi Kim is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research traverses the interdisciplinary humanities and is broadly concerned with the intersections of colonial and imperial formations, militarism, capitalism, and gendered racial violence. She is the author of Settler Garrison: Debt Imperialism, Militarism, and Transpacific Imaginaries (2022), Ends of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War (2010), and Co-Editor of Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (2016).

The series is coordinated by Dr. Su Yun Kim (, Dr. Pei-yin Lin (, and Dr. Alvin Wong (

For registration of the seminar, go to



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