Pyong Gap Min (Faculty) published a book titled Korean “Comfort Women “Military Brothels, Brutality, and the Redress Movement (Rutgers University Press, 2021)
Arguably the most brutal crime committed by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific war was the forced mobilization of 50,000 to 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these women died, unable to survive the ordeal. Those survivors who came back home kept silent about their brutal experiences for about fifty years. In the late 1980s, the women’s movement in South Korea helped start the redress movement for the victims, encouraging many survivors to come forward to tell what happened to them. With these testimonies, the redress movement gained strong support from the UN, the United States, and other Western countries.
Korean “Comfort Women” synthesizes the previous major findings about Japanese military sexual slavery and legal recommendations, and provides new findings about the issues “comfort women” faced for an English-language audience. It also examines the transnational redress movement, revealing that the Japanese government has tried to conceal the crime of sexual slavery and to resolve the women’s human rights issue with diplomacy and economic power.
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Ruth Milkman (Faculty) published a book titled Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat (Wiley, 2020)
Immigration has been a contentious issue for decades, but in the 21st century it has moved to center stage, propelled by an immigrant threat narrative that blames foreign-born workers, and especially the undocumented, for the collapsing living standards of American workers. According to that narrative, if immigration were summarily curtailed, border security established, and “illegal aliens” removed, the American Dream would be restored.
In this book, Ruth Milkman demonstrates that immigration is not the cause of economic precarity and growing inequality, as former President Trump and other promoters of the immigrant threat narrative claim. Rather, the influx of low-wage immigrants since the 1970s was a consequence of concerted employer efforts to weaken labor unions, along with neoliberal policies fostering outsourcing, deregulation, and skyrocketing inequality.
These dynamics have remained largely invisible to the public. The justifiable anger of U.S.-born workers whose jobs have been eliminated or degraded has been tragically misdirected, with even some liberal voices recently advocating immigration restriction. This provocative book argues that progressives should instead challenge right-wing populism, redirecting workers’ anger toward employers and political elites, demanding upgraded jobs for foreign-born and U.S.-born workers alike, along with public policies to reduce inequality.