Archaeology and Dissonant Memories of Japanese American Incarceration

Author(s): Koji H. Ozawa

Year: 2018


Memories of the Japanese American Incarceration Camps during WWII vary widely across America. For some, memories of the incarceration are a focal point of their identity and a driver of political action. Others who underwent this imprisonment chose not to recall their experiences. The incarceration can haunt their descendants as an ever-present but silenced past. Broadly, the United States’ relationship to this past is fractured. Activists invoke the incarceration as an affront to American values. Recently politicians recall it as precedent for immigration bans and proposed legislation for the incarceration of minority groups. For many, it is not remembered at all, left out of the master narrative of American History. In this paper, I discuss the dissonant memories associated with the Gila River Incarceration Camp, a site of imprisonment for 13,000 Japanese Americans in southern Arizona. Archaeological investigations there explore the possibilities for a reconciliation of this cacophony. 

Cite this Record

Archaeology and Dissonant Memories of Japanese American Incarceration. Koji H. Ozawa. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441374)

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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

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PaperId(s): 136