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Temporal Cities: Commemoration at Manzanar, California and Cowra, Australia

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image of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

This article compares two former Pacific War incarceration histories in the US and Australia, inquiring how their narratives of confinement and redress might be interpreted spatially and materially, and how these sensibilities are incorporated into contemporary heritage strategies including, in these examples, through Japanese garden designs. At the Manzanar Historic Site in California, the efforts of several generations advocating for civil rights and preservation of the Manzanar Relocation Center have overlapped with the National Park Service’s efforts to fulfil its federal mandates to preserve and restore the historic site. Conversely at Cowra, New South Wales, these histories are interwoven with post-war commemorative spaces, aimed at drawing visitors to former incarceration sites and encouraging contemplation of these difficult histories. This article analyses their complex creative processes and interpretive strategies as useful for drawing these isolated national stories into broader global interrogations of their significance.

Affiliations: 1: Independent scholar, Oakland, CA, USA, ; 2: Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia,


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