Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain : Networks, Power, and Everyday Life

Item # 153908.

By Saara Kekki.

On August 8, 1942, 302 people arrived by train at Vocation, Wyoming, to  become the first Japanese American residents of what the U.S. government  called the Relocation Center at Heart Mountain. In the following weeks  and months, they would be joined by some 10,000 of the more than 120,000  people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens,  incarcerated as “domestic enemy aliens” during World War II. Heart  Mountain became a town with workplaces, social groups, and political  alliances—in short, networks. These networks are the focus of Saara  Kekki’s Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain.

Interconnections  between people are the foundation of human societies. Exploring the  creation of networks at Heart Mountain, as well as movement to and from  the camp between 1942 and 1945, this book offers an unusually detailed  look at the formation of a society within the incarcerated community,  specifically the manifestation of power, agency, and resistance. Kekki  constructs a dynamic network model of all of Heart Mountain’s residents  and their interconnections—family, political, employment, social, and  geospatial networks—using historical “big data” drawn from the War  Relocation Authority and narrative sources, including the camp newspaper  Heart Mountain Sentinel. For all the inmates, life inevitably  went on: people married, had children, worked, and engaged in politics.  Because of the duration of the incarceration, many became  institutionalized and unwilling to leave the camps when the time came.  Yet most individuals, Kekki finds, took charge of their own destinies  despite the injustice and looked forward to the day when Heart Mountain  was behind them.

Especially timely in its implications for debates over immigration and assimilation, Japanese Americans at Heart Mountain  presents a remarkable opportunity to reconstruct a community created  under duress within the larger American society, and to gain new insight  into an American experience largely lost to official history. 

Paper: 246 pp.

Also availablbe;

Collections: Books & Media, Books: WWII

Type: book

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