Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 / Edition 1

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In 1919, against a backdrop of a long history of anti-Asian nativism, a handful of Japanese families established Cortez Colony in a bleak pocket of the San Joachin Valley. Valerie Matsumoto chronicles conflicts within the community as well as obstacles from without as the colonists responded to the challenges of settlement, the setbacks of the Great Depression, the hardships of World War II internment, and the opportunities of postwar reconstruction. Tracing the evolution of gender and family roles of members of Cortez as well as their cultural, religious, and educational institutions, she documents the persistence and flexibility of ethnic community and demonstrates its range of meaning from geographic location and web of social relations to state of mind.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Carefully researched, tightly written, well organized, and intelligently interpreted . . . . An excellent text for classroom assignment."—Sucheng Chan, Pacific Historical Review (November 1994)

"Part oral history, part sociology, Farming the Home Place is the chronicle of three generations in the life of a Japanese-American farming community in California's San Joachin Valley. Matsumoto writes clearly, knowledgeably, and with affection for her subject, weaving the story of Cortez, a seventy-four-year-old planned agricultural colony, into the larger tapestry of twentieth-century Japanese-American experience. Her extensive interviews with dozens of Cortez residents hep create a living portrait of a stable yet constantly evolving community."—Lauren Kessler, The Journal of American History (March 2005)

"Farming the Home Place, enriched by material gathered from over eighty interviews that supplement research into local archival and manuscript collections, is a sensitive, subtle, even understated book. It will speak to a wide variety of audiences, both academic and popular, for its implications are many for the understanding of the nature of community and ethnicity in American life."—Gordon H. Chang, Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring 1996)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801481154
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1994
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. Cultivating a Fallow Field 1
Ch. 1 Taking Root in a Harsh Land 17
Ch. 2 Growing Up in Cortez: The Prewar Years 56
Ch. 3 Merced Assembly Center 87
Ch. 4 Amache 119
Ch. 5 Reweaving the Web Of Continuity 149
Ch. 6 Rice and Reflection 179
Conclusion. Sustaining Fruit 215
Appendix A. Notes on Research 219
Appendix B. Oral History Interview Questions 225
Appendix C. Recipes from Cortez, with List of Terms 230
Bibliography 241
Index 257
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