Moving Images: Photography and the Japanese American Incarceration

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When the American government began impounding Japanese American citizens after Pearl Harbor, photography became a battleground. The control of the means of representation affected nearly every aspect of the incarceration, from the mug shots criminalizing Japanese Americans to the prohibition of cameras in the hands of inmates. The government also hired photographers to make an extensive record of the forced removal and incarceration. In this insightful study, Jasmine Alinder explores the photographic record of the imprisonment in war relocation centers such as Manzanar, Tule Lake, Jerome, and others. She investigates why photographs were made, how they were meant to function, and how they have been reproduced and interpreted subsequently by the popular press and museums in constructing versions of public history.

Alinder provides calibrated readings of the photographs from this period, including works by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Manzanar camp inmate Toyo Miyatake (who constructed his own camera to document the complicated realities of camp life), and contemporary artists Patrick Nagatani and Masumi Hayashi. Illustrated with more than forty photographs, Moving Images reveals the significance of the camera in the process of incarceration as well as the construction of race, citizenship, and patriotism in this complex historical moment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 “Alinder’s 50-year perspective yields one of the most balanced and informative books on documentary photographs in general and the internment of Japanese Americans in particular. This is a gem of a book. Essential.”— Choice

"A beautiful and worthwhile read."—The Journal of American History

"A smart and highly interpretive study."—Nichi Bei Weekly

"Alinder handles her material skillfully, and in concise and readable style.  Her judgments show an incisive mind, and one that resists oversimplification."—American Journalism

 "An excellent history of the incarceration . . . this is valuable for anyone interested in Japanese-American history."—Multicultural Review

"Contributes significantly to making the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans a part of public memory. . . . A book that gracefully navigates the space between academic and public discourse."—American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252033988
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2009
  • Series: Asian American Experience Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jasmine Alinder is an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword Roger Daniels Daniels, Roger


1 When the Innocents Suffer: Dorothea Lange and the War Relocation Authority 23

2 The Landscape of Loyalty: Ansel Adams's Born Free and Equal 44

3 The Right to Represent: Toyo Miyatake's Photographs of Manzanar 75

4 Art/History: Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in the Museum 103

5 Virtual Pilgrimage: The Contemporary Incarceration Photography of Patrick Nagatani and Masumi Hayashi 126

Epilogue 155

Notes 163

Bibliography 189

Index 201

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