Date of Award
Bonnie Clark, Ph.D.
Amache, Japanese American internment, Object agency, Object biography
This project investigates the meaning of Japanese American families' personal possessions associated with internment through the concepts of object biography and object agency. It uses material culture analysis to help anthropologists understand the Japanese American internment experience, specifically through a case study at Amache, the Japanese American internment camp in southeastern Colorado. Five semi-structured phone interviews, and one structured email interview, are the primary data used to explore the importance of material culture associated with the site and to help preserve the cultural heritage of Amache. Object agency and object biography are key components of the new material culture theory. In this project, object biography concerns how examining different meanings, values, uses, and contexts over time can help anthropologists better understand the Japanese American internment experience. Object agency involves analyzing the relationship between former internees' families and their personal possessions. One of the crucial ways to investigate this concept is understanding why museum donors decided to donate their family items to a museum. It also involves why objects were donated specifically to the Amache museum, instead of to other museums that have Japanese American collections. This thesis suggests there are multiple patterns and themes in the relationships between museum donors and their objects that relate to the Japanese American internment experience.
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Cruz, Rebecca Michele, "The Role of Amache Family Objects in the Japanese American Internment Experience: Examined Through Object Biography and Object Agency" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1184.
Received from ProQuest
Rebecca Michele Cruz
Museum Studies, Cultural Anthropology