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Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: A Gendered Lesson in Wartime Looking at Women in Internment Camp Photographs

Monday, November 6, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Klarman Hall, KG42
232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853

Is it possible to look from the vantage point of an Asian American feminist gaze at the representational legacy of young Japanese American women who have left their traces in photographs from the WWII Japanese American internment experience? How do archival photographs of young Japanese American women illustrate what French theorist Roland Barthes has termed “the visual grip of history”?  “Beauty Behind Barbed Wire” will focus on the vast photographic archive of interned Japanese American Nisei (second generation) women with an explicit focus on the representation of gender and sexuality. By looking at camp photographs and newspaper coverage of Japanese American women, Prof. Creef will discuss the ways in which young interned women used everyday practices of beauty and femininity as a way to perform wartime patriotism and citizenship in the camps.

Event Type



Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, History, American Studies Program, Asian American Studies Program


amstcal, fgsscal, cashum, aaspcal, pma

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Trisica Munroe

Contact Phone



Elena Tajima Creef

Speaker Affiliation

Wellesley College


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