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Chapter 10 explores the challenges of representing dissonant historical narratives related to questionable practices of incarceration, particularly of civilians. Heritage sites and institutions have preserved and interpreted the histories of these many sites through encounters with former captives and collection of their stories, objects and artworks, onsite at the physical locations of former captivity. Revisiting the major case studies in Canada, Australia, Japan and Singapore, the chapter examines the construction of physical memorials, cemeteries and peace gardens as a reparative practice, with ensuing tensions for national memory-making, asking what lessons might be drawn regarding settler citizenship.
Chapter 8 links and compares two case studies. The sites of the Canadian and US internment or incarceration of people of Japanese origin were spatially initiated through their demarcation of a strip of land along the Pacific coast varying approximately inland as an exclusion area. The Canadian government moved “members of the Japanese race” in British Columbia, including Canadian citizens, into the mountainous terrain of the Kootenays region. Camps, named Assembly Centers and Relocation Centers, were designed as prison cities laid out in grid systems with repetitive rows of standard military barracks, using US Army Corps of Engineers standard plans. Using Manzanar and New Denver as case histories, the chapter examines how incarcerated civilian populations immediately set about altering the camp environments to make them more habitable.
Chapter 7 describes the Southeast Asian camp network as temporarily extending an emergent military industrial complex centered in Japan, already tested prewar in its East Asian colonies. This alliance of the military and defense industries manifests physically through temporary, existing or purpose-built facilities, ranging from factory dormitories to timber-and-attap huts. The distribution of working parties across Asia, including when constructing the Burma-Thai railroad, the journey to Japan, more specifically from Changi to Naoetsu, and, finally, the concentration, forced labor and eventual post-capitulation dispersal of Japanese Surrendered Personnel convey the aggregation and dissolution of the Japanese Empire through a study of its camps.
Chapter 4 focuses on unguarded POW labor distribution and the farms and rural industries associated with the camps. Across the Pacific theater civilians and POWs, as well as alienated citizens (in North America), supplemented wartime industry through their nominally waged employment in manufacturing and agricultural industries. The chapter looks at the penal economy, the labor regimen and the ways in which the labor of Italian POWs became integrated into a larger network of wartime labor circulation throughout Australia, with insights into the exceptional productivity of camps at Marrinup, Hay and Loveday. Key differences between internee and POW labor employment are contextualized in the wartime mobilization of workers across Australia.
The Introduction outlines the book’s scope as exploring the taxonomy of concentration-camp types that emerged, temporarily, in the three geographical areas of focus: Australia, the USA and Singapore, and in related conflicts around the Pacific Basin. It highlights key theoretical approaches: genealogy, archipelagic consciousness and border-thinking as the book’s intellectual framework investigating how the global conflict shaped and transformed settler-colonial forms of sovereignty as revealed in the wartime prisons and prison camps’ designs and materiality. The Introduction argues that although architectural histories have previously neglected the Pacific War architectures of confinement, the discipline offers a unique lens into wartime histories.
Chapter 5 shifts to the island colony of Singapore, where Australia’s Eighth AMF Division defended the island alongside British and local forces and volunteers in the weeks before its capitulation, suffering greatly as Japanese captives. The chapter describes the dispersal of camps at the fall of Singapore, following the fate of Australian and other Allied soldiers across an emergent camp geography. Its main aim is envisioning the entirety of the island as converted to an encampment through the distribution of Allied camps, including the dispersal of work camps in requisitioned domestic and institutional facilities, exploring how wartime defense and capitulation provided structures for contemporary citizenship.
Chapter 11 takes us to the edges of the Pacific archipelago for a closer look at the camps for Japanese Surrendered Personnel and the War Crimes Trials Compounds in the Australian-administered island territories of New Guinea. The chapter traces their changing accommodation in underground tunnels, timber barracks and Quonset huts. The War Criminals Prison at Manus Island precedes the later location there of the infamous offshore detention center, one of many such facilities later created for incarcerating unauthorized asylum seeker arrivals to Australia. The chapter makes the case for a genealogical approach to physical sites of incarceration as important for understanding the continuous historical entanglements of sovereignty and spatial forms of violence.
Chapter 1 lays out the reasoning behind the book and its investigative schema, drawing links with interpretations of incarceration familiar to the discipline. The chapter’s central argument is that the Pacific War’s imperial border contestations were inscribed in those national populations who were alienated or disenfranchised by new hostilities, and that camps treated as border facilities became places for testing cultural boundaries, advancing programs of assimilation but also of prisoner defiance, dissidence and cultural recovery. Case studies are viewed comparatively in order to gain an understanding of the differing physical makeup of each camp environment in the various national sites explored.
Chapter 3 discusses how the captive population of Germans, Italians and Japanese, their patriotism sharpened by group incarceration, railed against confinement in Australian and New Zealand’s camps. Using “escape” as its central theme, the chapter examines breakout attempts at camps in Murchison, Cowra and Featherston, offering insights into enforcement of 1929 Geneva Convention regulations for POW treatment. The chapter introduces the dodecagon-shaped POW camp as a unique design tested in Australia for the accommodation of racially different combatants and a continuation of a longer history of convictism. New Zealand’s wartime camps repurpose and adapt facilities associated with quarantine.
Chapter 6 discusses the two most notorious institutions in wartime Singapore, the Changi and Outram Road prisons, with key focus on civilian internment at Changi. It describes the colonial origins of penal institutions and the erection of Changi Prison as the first modern (reinforced-concrete) penal complex. The prison’s inversion to intern colonial residents, as an act of forced removal and dispossession of once-privileged colonial civilians, is discussed in terms of “subalternization,” a recurring theme in subsequent chapters. The chapter focuses specifically on the experiences of incarcerated colonial women, children and elders, as different to those of imprisoned service personnel. It concludes with their relocation to Sime Road Camp.
Chapter 2 introduces the eighteen major camps created in Australia to intern “enemy aliens,” as well as overseas internees/refugees and POWs, as an expanding military-camp typology, an extension of the punitive-space typologies that had historically filtered entry into the continent. Unlike in other case studies, the proximity of POW and internee populations to both theaters of conflict forced Australia to devise evermore complex schemes that would segregate nationals of belligerent countries, as well as the political factions within them. The centerpiece of this chapter is the Waranga Basin’s Tatura group of seven camps – the key camp cluster in Victoria.