New & Newsworthy


In the Spring of 2016, AAASI Core Faculty member BRAD SIMPSON was tapped to provide commentary in several articles that seek to expose the Indonesian atrocities of the 1965 era and aided by publicity surrounding the Oscar-nominated documentaries THE LOOK OF SILENCE (2015) and THE ACT OF KILLING (2013) by Joshua Oppenheimer.

An excerpt from The Washington Post coverage quotes Simpson at length as follows:

According to historian Bradley Simpson, an associate professor at University of Connecticut, “The Act of Killing” was “a rather large pebble in a much longer stream of work by scholars and activists dating back to 1998.


“What it has done is provide a widely available counternarrative to the state-sponsored narrative of what happened in Indonesia in 1965 and ’66 that dominated public education and civic life for 32 years,” Simpson explained.


Simpson has spent decades investigating the 1965 genocide, including the United States’ role. Just last week, he received a response to a Freedom of Information Act request he filed 12 years ago. After being denied the release of about 1,700 documents, he did receive 17 pages of meeting notes from a National Security Council oversight committee, from the archives of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential library. But nearly all the text was redacted.

Humanities Institute Fellowship 2015-2016

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute recently announced its Faculty Fellowship Awards for 2015-2016. The Asian and Asian American Studies Institute is pleased to call attention to its Associate Director and Core Faculty member Brad Simpson’s winning submission “The First Right: Self Determination and the Transformation of International Politics” and summarized as follows:

The idea of self-determination is one of the most significant and contentious in international politics. For nearly a century diplomats, writers, activists, and scholars have wrestled with the meaning and implications of self-determination for decolonization, human rights, sovereignty and international order. Self-determination claims pre- and post-date the Cold War, transcend North-South divides, and range across the dimensions of politics, economics, and culture. Scholars however, have produced a striking paucity of historical research on the topic.

The century-long debates over the meaning and reach of self-determination, however, illuminate enduring dynamics of the contemporary world, especially the tensions between political and cultural sovereignty in the face of increasing global economic integration.

“The First Right” will explore the legal, political and cultural evolution of self-determination claims since 1941 and the ways they have shaped conceptions of sovereignty, rights and international order, in the United States and around the world. It will also explore the international community’s uneven efforts to channel such claims along lines that would minimize the potential threats they pose to the interstate system, as well as the cultural work that such claims performed for groups that did not seek statehood but some other political or legal status.

A UCHI Faculty Fellowship provides a focused opportunity to pursue advanced work that contributes to scholarly knowledge or to the general public’s understanding of the humanities.