Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College

The Pacific Basin Institute strengthens Asian and Latin American Studies in Pomona College through a

The PBI was founded in 1979 and moved to Pomona College in 1997. Since then, it has become a prime mover in the college's programs in Asian Studies and Latin American Studies. Working closely with the faculty, the Institute serves as sponsor and programmer for lectures, meetings, conferences and workshops each semester. Each summer, the PBI also funds a group of students, selected from a pool of a

Operating as usual


The Hawai‘i Triennial: History, Place, Identity
For Spring 2022, the Pacific Basin Institute Lecture Series invites artists, curators, scholars, and activists to present bodies of work featured in the international exhibition The Pacific Century - E Ho‘omau no Moananuiākea, the 2022 Hawai‘i Triennial, which foregrounds the Hawaiian archipelago’s location at the confluence of Asia-Pacific and Oceania. Touching on the exhibition’s intersecting themes of History, Place, and Identity, our guests will consider the question: how can local cultural rights and sovereignty struggles be articulated in a global exhibition platform?

First lecture of Spring!

*W March 2 @ 4:15pm*
Josh Tengan and Drew Kahu’aina Broderick
Click here to register:


Our first (virtual) lecture for Fall is next Monday, 9/27. Registration is free and open to all.

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Ocean Island Remix: Environmental Justice and Art/Story from the Pacific. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar. 02/23/2021

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Ocean Island Remix: Environmental Justice and Art/Story from the Pacific. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Our next event is this Thursday! For free registration, click here:

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Ocean Island Remix: Environmental Justice and Art/Story from the Pacific. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor in Pacific Studies and Deputy Director, Higher Degree Research Training, in the School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University. She is author of Consuming Ocean Island: stories of people and phosphate from Banaba (2015). Katerina was bo...

LEAP - Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics 01/07/2021

LEAP - Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics

LEAP is excited to announce that applications for the 2021 LEAP Emerge: Summer Internship Program will open in the coming days! LEAP Emerge is an eight-week paid summer internship program designed to develop emerging young leaders by providing college students with practical leadership skills and the opportunity to work virtually in a community-based organization serving the Asian and Pacific Islander Community.

LEAP - Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics Founded 1982, LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics) is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) through leadership, empowerment, and policy.

Photos from Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College's post 12/01/2020

We are excited to announce that the Gilbert and Sallie Reid Collection is now open for research! Consisting primarily of photographs, prints, pamphlets, and ephemera, the collection offers an intriguing window into the world of the Reids, an American missionary couple active in China between 1892 and 1927.

About the collection:

The Reid collection contains materials amassed by Gilbert and Sallie Reid over a period of roughly three decades. Of special note is a photographic chronicle of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, which the Reids experienced while sequestered for several months within the Legation Quarter of Beijing. Other materials include family portraits of the Reids and photographs of Chinese officials; pamphlets on poverty and working conditions in Shanghai; a Chinese translation of a turn-of-the-century American cookbook; and several annual reports of the Ladies’ International Club of Shanghai.

Visit the Online Archive of California to learn more about the collection and view the finding aid:


Menu, The Shanghai Club, August 14, 1905, from the Gilbert and Sallie Reid Collection at PBI.

Photos from Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College's post 08/03/2020

As an archivist, I'm privileged to immerse myself in the lives and events of the past. Few collections have proven so immersive as the papers of the Reverend Gilbert Reid (1857-1927), an American missionary who established the International Institute of China in Peking (Beijing) and Shanghai. A scholar of comparative religion, Reid’s writings on Chinese affairs were widely read in the United States in the early 20th century.

Here’s what I mean by “immersive:” the Reid collection is still housed in the missionary’s wicker suitcase! Indeed, when I first encountered the suitcase several months ago, it seemed almost untouched since Reid finished his travels a century ago. Here was a messy trove of photographs, pamphlets, and correspondence which collectively provide a fascinating window into Reid’s experience in China during the heyday of Western imperialism. That experience was not without controversy. Reid was well-known as an apologist for the Western powers, and brooked controversy by defending the looting of American missionaries after the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901.

We’re excited to make the Reid collection available for research use in the coming months. To that end, I’ve begun arranging the collection to promote ease of access and the long-term physical preservation of the materials. This means removing the collection’s contents from that wonderful suitcase, but have no fear: we’re currently planning a small exhibit where Pomona students and faculty will be able to see the Reid collection up close. We hope to have the exhibit ready by the time students return to campus in early 2021. Stay tuned!

-Clark Noone, PBI Archivist

Photos from Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College's post 07/08/2020

From the archive....

PBI's founder, Frank Gibney, was pictured on the cover of Newsweek on October 9, 1950. This edition was significant for its raw depiction of the Korean War.

Following the U.S. invasion at Inchon, Gibney -- then the Tokyo bureau chief of Time-Life -- was traveling with a group of American marines when they suddenly happened upon three young North Korean soldiers. The Korean soldiers' hasty surrender was captured by an embedded photographer, who also captured a stone-faced Gibney in the background.

Newsweek's October 9 issue also featured a harrowing image of two grief-stricken infantrymen after the loss of a friend in the Haktong-ni area of Korea. Captioned "the price of victory" the photograph (by Sergeant Al Chang) became one of the defining images of the Korean War, and in 1955 was featured in Edward Steichen's celebrated "Family of Man" photography exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Taken together, according to historian Andrew Huebner, these Newsweek photos "fit into a long line of images, begun early in the war, that never shied away from the sorrow of American GIs in Korea." Far from the sanitized coverage of World War II, Americans were now confronted with the full human cost of overseas conflict.

-National Archives
-Andrew Huebner, The Warrior Image: Soldiers in American Culture from the Second World War to the Vietnam Era.

Photos from Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College's post 06/11/2020

From the PBI archive...

PBI's founder, Frank Gibney, enjoyed a distinguished career as a foreign correspondent and magazine editor before founding PBI in 1979.

Following his World War II service as a Japanese translator for naval intelligence, Gibney served during the American occupation of Japan as, in his words, “a small human bridge between General Douglas MacArthur's conquering army and a puzzled but receptive Japanese public.” All the while, Gibney gained greater fluency with Japanese language and culture. In 1947, he joined Time as a foreign correspondent and soon became the magazine’s Tokyo bureau chief. From this vantage, he wrote his first book, Five Gentlemen of Japan, a probing and pathbreaking study of Japanese culture for an American audience more accustomed to caricature.

Gibney’s run of journalistic success continued through the 1950s, during which time he wrote and edited for Life and Newsweek. In 1966, his career gained greater stability when he became the president of Encylopaedia Britannica Japan. Under Gibney’s direction, Britannica published its first Japanese language edition in 1975. Gibney was also instrumental in the publication of Britannica’s first Chinese edition, the first non-Marxist reference book allowed in China.

While processing the Gibney collection, I recently came across these fascinating reminders of his life in journalism. The first, a mock newspaper from the 1930s entitled The Clarion, shows a boyhood Gibney trying out the trade. (I wonder what the circulation of this homemade newspaper was?) The other items -- identification cards from roughly 1946 and 1955 -- show Gibney advancing through the early and hard-driving days of his career as a top foreign correspondent for one of the world's foremost magazines.

--Clark Noone, PBI archivist


In 1519, the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan began a trip across the Atlantic and into South America. He was employed by Spain to find a western route to Indonesia’s rich Spice Islands. In November 1520, he and his small fleet became the first European explorers to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic. The men didn’t quite know where they were, but Magellan named the body of water “Pacific” (from the Latin word pacificus, or “tranquil”) because the waters were peaceful. The men thought the Spice Islands were close at hand — unfortunately for them, they were still thousands of miles away. Still, Magellan was so happy to see the Pacific after a long and arduous journey that he wept with joy.
Source: National Ocean Service | Date Updated: February 20, 2020


Our Spring 2020 schedule of events is finally here! We continue with topics involving the Indo-Pacific region. We would also like to highlight other Spring events.


Please see this powerful film on March 3rd at 7pm. Co-sponsored by PBI.


Our final LECTURE of Fall semester is next Tuesday!

Pacific Basin Institute | Indo-Pacific Crossings Lecture Series | Fall 2019
Tuesday 5 November 2019 | 4:30 pm | Hahn Hall 101
“The Muslim of Discovery of Japan”
Nile Green | Professor and Ibn Khaldun Endowed Chair in World History | Department of History | UCLA

In the half-century between around 1890 and 1940, Muslims from India, the Middle East and Central Asia turned in fascination to Japan as an independent and industrializing ‘eastern’ (mashriqi) nation. As itinerant Muslim intellectuals struggled to relate Japan’s achievements to their own societies, they brought to Japan many of the same questions and conceptions. In the meantime, through mosque-building and religious publishing, Japan itself became a transnational Islamic hub in a way that was entirely without precedent. This multi-tiered Muslim outreach ranged from attempts to understand Shinto/Buddhism to the opening of Japan’s first mosques. To explain these developments, this richly illustrated lecture draws on a range of primary materials to assess the place of Japan in the globalizing religious networks of the ‘age of steam and print.’


Wednesday, Oct 16 @ 4:30PM - Studio Art 122
Screening of: A Silent World (Le Monde du Silence).

Dive into our underwater planet like it has never been before. Directed by Louis Malle, The Silent World is a pioneering French nature documentary that was the first to show the ocean depths in full color. The film follows renowned oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau as he and his crew of the Calypso set sail for the Indian Ocean to reach previously unseen ocean depths and explore the undersea world. Tropical seas, coral reefs, multicolored sea life; The Silent World is an undersea adventure and a piece of cinema history. Recipient of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956.


Our first lecture is Wednesday, Oct 2 at 4:30PM in Hahn 101. Janet Hoskins is a Pomona alum '75. We hope to see you there!


This Wednesday, Sept 18 at 4:30pm. Two short films by Pomona alum, Janet Hoskins '75! Come to Studio Art, room 122.


Announcing PBI's Fall 2019 Lecture and Film Series schedule of events! Indo-Pacific Crossings is the theme for this year. Stay tuned for more details on the individual events. Hope to see you there!


PBI's final lecture of the semester is tomorrow! Lunch will be served. Begins promptly at 11:30am.





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