Wednesday, 7 March 2018 - 4:30pm to 5:50pm
When the Civil Liberties Act—acknowledging the motivation behind the mass incarceration of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during WWII as “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”—was signed 30 years ago, it drew a formal conclusion to one of this nation’s most comprehensive civil rights violations. And yet, in an age and environment in which its components—anti-immigrant legislation, racial profiling, surveillance, mass incarceration itself—are as voracious as ever, how do we understand the “afterlife” of this history? This talk will re-enter the fertile, flowering ruins—both physical and figurative—by examining the corpses, the shadows, the undying ferment and traumas, in an attempt to see anew what has not actually ended.
Brandon Shimoda is a poet and writer. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Evening Oracle (which received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America) and The Desert (forthcoming in 2018). He is currently researching/writing a book about Japanese American incarceration. His writings and talks on the subject (including on corpses, gardens, memorials, surveillance) have been published in or delivered at Asian American Literary Review, Columbia University, the Holocaust History Center (Tucson), Hyperallergic, The Margins, The New Inquiry, and the University of Arizona. He lives in the desert.