Conservatives seek to silence difficult stories about our nation’s past. In June 2022, a Wisconsin school board refused to approve Julie Otsuka’s novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, saying it is not a “balanced” perspective. It tells the story of the incarceration of Japanese American residents and citizens during WWII.
Digital scholarship provides a unique opportunity to bring together community partners, faculty, staff, and students to amplify community histories. A team of University of the Pacific (UOP) faculty (Library, History, MediaX, Graphic Design) and undergraduates, in collaboration with community members (including artist Na Omi Shintani, contributor to Tanforan Memorial Site; and members of Stockton, CA’s Japanese American Citizens League), will create digital narratives about the crisis and fundamental threat to personhood caused by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Focusing on UOP and the surrounding community, we investigate the stories of the students whose educations were disrupted and ask: How did they cope? Did the university and their educational networks support them? What does it mean to live in a country that does not grant equal protection to its citizens? What does this teach us about the obligation for civic engagement? The UOP summer fellowship program, now in its sixth year, has two teams for 2022. One will produce a cinematic game-based experience featuring the Japanese American community of Walnut Grove, CA before incarceration. The other will produce an interactive smartphone app that explores the experiences of Pacific’s Japanese American students.
Our presentation will showcase the results of the student-community collaboration, describe the funding and management of successful fellowships, and feature undergraduates’ assessment of their learning outcomes.
Authors/creators: Alan Barragan, Jovani Batuyong, Asher Bloom, Keely Canniff, Lisa Cooperman, Chris Crawford Christopher Fines, Jennifer Helgren, Marie Lee, Michael O'Garey, David Ogutu, Mayu Otsuka, Dominick Restivo, Joshua Salyers, Karen Su, Madeleine Tawa, Gabriel Teo, Tina To, George Trammel, Thomas Wight, Kailey Wong