Drawing the line: Places of power in the Japanese-American internment eventscape
AuthorBranton, Nicole Louise
AdvisorReid, J. Jefferson
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRelocation, the removal of over 110,000 "persons of Japanese ancestry" from their West Coast homes to relocation centers in the continental interior during World War II, was a culturally critical event in the history of Japanese Americans. While internment has been intensively studied, it has lacked a unifying theoretical approach to the disparate material, behavioral, and symbolic experiences of internment. When viewed through the lens of place, and a particular variety of cultural landscape called an eventscape, the relationships between different scales of experience of gender, age, or factional groups become apparent. An eventscape is a cultural landscape that results from people's participation in culturally critical events. The heuristic value of eventscape is its capacity to depict the multiple spatial, temporal, and social scales of Relocation and to represent the material patterns and social-symbolic relationships between people and places. A persistent theme in the history and anthropology of relocation is shikataganai, the idea that a cultural predisposition toward acceptance of unalterable circumstances precluded internee resistance. Japanese Americans' relationships with the places of relocation demonstrate that many did resist, especially through strategies of everyday resistance. Internees manipulated their built environments in order to create "home places" that defied the imposed identity of "prisoner." Ceramic tablewares from the Manzanar War Relocation Center landfill indicate that some female internees may have attempted to serve traditional meals in their barracks in order to mitigate the effects of the mess hall. Oral history data reveal the ongoing relationships that some Japanese Americans have with the locations associated with the events of Relocation. The "Tucsonians" were young internees who refused to be drafted and served prison terms in the Catalina Federal Honor Camp near Tuscon, Arizona. These resisters use the sites of their incarceration as memorials that instruct Japanese Americans and other visitors, in the suppressed history of resistance to internment. Through storytelling and place commemoration, they challenge the master narrative of relocation that claims that Japanese Americans complied with relocation without protest.
Degree ProgramGraduate College