Racial Performativity and World War II

In The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma: Racial Performativity and World War II, Emily Roxworthy contests the notion that the U.S. government’s internment policies during World War II had little impact on the postwar lives of most Japanese Americans. After the curtain was lowered on the war following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many Americans behaved as if the “theatre of war” had ended and life could return to normal. Roxworthy demonstrates that this theatrical logic of segregating the real from the staged, the authentic experience from the political display, grew out of the manner in which internment was agitated for and instituted by the U.S. government and media. During the war, Japanese Americans struggled to define themselves within the web of this theatrical logic, and they continue to reenact this trauma in public and private to this day.

July 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3220-9 / $35.00 (CLOTH)

“This is an original and well-written analysis, contributing much to the literature on internment and, thereby, re-energizing the ideological stages of internment discourse.” —Caroline Chung Simpson, University of Washington