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RightlessnessTestimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II$
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A. Naomi Paik

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626314

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626314.001.0001

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Residues of Rightlessness

Residues of Rightlessness

Ghosts and the Afterlife of Internment

(p.57) 2 Residues of Rightlessness

A. Naomi Paik

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the lasting reverberations of internment that persist even after the camps have closed, rights are restored, and the suffering of victims is acknowledged through official redress. It examines three testimonial texts offered by descendants of internments—CWRIC testimonies, Janice Mirikitani’s “Breaking Silence” (1981), and Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory: For Akiko and Takeshige. It argues that rightlessness is not limited to the body’s confinement within a barbed-wire perimeter, but by a history that endures in the U.S. state’s continuing creation of rightless persons via camp imprisonment and in the lived histories that the rightless carry with them. It argues that, endowed with an ever-adaptable and expanding capacity, rightlessness can become an inherited condition, one that exceeds legal definitions or empirical ways of knowing. The testimonial and aesthetic works at the chapter’s center offer a useful resource in deciphering a dimension of rightlessness as nebulous and resistant to empirical interpretation as the afterlife.

Keywords:   Rea Tajiri, Janice Mirikitani, Japanese American Internment, 1988 Civil Liberties Act, Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC), Poston Internment camp

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