[New York: NYU Press, 2004]
As we have been reminded by the renewed acceptance of racial profiling, and the detention and deportation of hundreds of immigrants of Arab and Muslim descent on unknown charges following September 11, in times of national crisis we take refuge in the visual construction of citizenship in order to imagine ourselves as part of a larger, cohesive national American community.
Beginning with another moment of national historical trauma—December 7, 1941 and the subsequent internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans—Imaging Japanese America unearths stunning and seldom seen photographs of Japanese Americans by the likes of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Toyo Mitatake. In turn, Elena Tajima Creef examines the perspective from inside, as visualized by Mine Okubo's Maus-like dramatic cartoon and by films made by Asian Americans about the internment experience. She then traces the ways in which contemporary representations of Japanese Americans in popular culture are inflected by the politics of historical memory from World War II. Creef closes with a look at the representation of the multiracial Japanese American body at the turn of the millennium.
"[Creef] examines myriad genres of visual and linguistic representation in order to understand the historical and contemporary 'imaging' of Japanese Americans."
—Kent A. Ono, University of Illinois
"Imaging Japanese America examines myriad genres of visual and linguistic representation in order to understand the historical and contemporary 'imaging' of Japanese Americans. It is both an artful writing project and an exemplary scholarly work within the field of visual culture studies. Readers will appreciate the interdisciplinary methodology, the rich detailed analysis, and Creef's powerful voice. A joy to read—one learns something new at every turn."
—Kent A. Ono, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"An astute and lucid study of visual representations of Japanese Americans and an important original work for understanding American history in the second half of the twentieth century. Creef elegantly reads the myriad interdisciplinary contexts in which dynamics of race, gender, class, and nation frame Japanese Americans as foreign or the same, alien or national, while revealing the hidden costs such representations extract from individuals and communities."
—Shirley Geok-lin Lim, University of California, Santa Barbara
”In engaging and lucid prose, each chapter moves through sensitive and nuanced analyses of a carefully chosen juxtaposition of biographies of individual artists and writers, cultural productions, academic texts, institutional practices and discourses, and material artifacts.”