Date of Award
Bonnie J. Clark, Ph.D.
Japanese Americans, Materiality, Photo albums, Photography, Visual anthropology, World War II
The US government's incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II denied over 120,000 people basic rights and civil liberties. Limits on owning cameras inflicted unique hardship as people were unable to photographically document their lives as they had before the war. My research focuses on photographs that people managed to take and acquire in the camps, investigating the role of snapshot photography in remembering and understanding World War II experiences of incarceration. The photo albums I researched are housed in museum collections at two former sites of confinement: Manzanar National Historic Site in the Eastern Sierra of California and the Amache Museum in southeastern Colorado. Through documenting album biographies, conducting a material analysis of the photographs, and interviewing album donors, this thesis examines the use and meaning of photographs as they have changed over time and in different contexts. It explores how everyday material objects illuminate the complexities of the human experience and how museums can best engage with them.
Peterson, Whitney J., "Snapshots of Confinement: Memory and Materiality of Japanese Americans' World War II-era Photo Albums" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1518.
Received from ProQuest
Whitney J. Peterson
Museum studies, Cultural anthropology, Asian American studies