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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.
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 9 examines the historical arc of sovereignty and national belonging through the physical sites created for redress and reconciliation at Manzanar. Like other traumatized populations, the move to redress the injustices of incarceration occurred at a temporal distance after the event, initiated in the USA mainly at the insistence of Sansei, the college-aged children of incarcerees, demanding to know what had happened in “camps.” This Nisei leadership of the postwar redress movement included many extraordinary “unquiet” women, at a time when the patriarchal structure of Japanese American communities prevailed. Sue Kunitomi Embrey’s legacy as thirty-year Chair of the Manzanar Committee is the creation of the National Park Service’s Manzanar National Historic Site.
In this global and comparative study of Pacific War incarceration environments we explore the arc of the Pacific Basin as an archipelagic network of militarized penal sites. Grounded in spatial, physical and material analyses focused on experiences of civilian internees, minority citizens, and enemy prisoners of war, the book offers an architectural and urban understanding of the unfolding history and aftermath of World War II in the Pacific. Examples are drawn from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, and North America. The Architecture of Confinement highlights the contrasting physical facilities, urban formations and material character of various camps and the ways in which these uncover different interpretations of wartime sovereignty. The exclusion and material deprivation of selective populations within these camp environments extends the practices by which land, labor and capital are expropriated in settler-colonial societies; practices critical to identity formation and endemic to their legacies of liberal democracy.
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