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The Spectacle of Japanese American TraumaRacial Performativity and World War II$
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Emily Roxworthy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832209

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832209.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see http://www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 December 2017

Introduction

Introduction

Staging the Trauma of Japanese American Internment

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma
Author(s):

Emily Roxworthy

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824832209.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. This book posits the importance of understanding the structural trauma of internment as located in the spectacularization imposed upon Japanese Americans by the U.S. government and mass media during World War II. By spectacularizing the disenfranchisement and imprisonment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, the U.S. government and mass media denied the gravity of what was taking place and disavowed the psychological suffering and material violence perpetrated against a persecuted ethnic minority. The book further argues that by framing the evacuation and internment as spectacles, the United States positioned the American public as passive spectators to the unconstitutional treatment of their ethnic Japanese neighbors and, simultaneously, cast the public as heroic “patriots” opposite Japanese Americans, who were cast in one of two thankless roles: expressionless automata or melodramatic villains.

Keywords:   Japanese Americans, internment, internees, relocation, World War II, trauma, spectacle, imprisonment

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