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Memories of Internment: Narrating Japanese Canadian Women's Life Stories

Pamela Sugiman
The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Summer, 2004), pp. 359-388
DOI: 10.2307/3654672
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3654672
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Memories of Internment: Narrating Japanese Canadian Women's Life Stories
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Abstract

This paper attempts to bridge the dichotomy of «historical truth» and personal recollection by exploring the sociological concept of memory. Drawing on 30 oral testimonies of Nisei (second generation) Japanese Canadian women, I explore the diverse and often complex ways in which Nisei women remember the internment, with particular attention to the intermingling of past and present, the relationship between teller and listener, as well as the layering of personal and public narratives, in the construction of these memories. The theme of silence and telling is also explored, with the understanding that the literacization of memories is always a political act. /// Cet article essaie de relier la dichotomie de la «vérité historique» et des souvenirs personnels en explorant le concept sociologique de la mé moire. M'inspirant de 30 témoignages oraux de femmes canadiennes japonaises Nisei (deuxième génération), j'explore les manières variées et souvent complexes dont les femmes Nisei se souviennent de l'internement, en accordant une attention toute spé ciale au mélange entre le passé et le présent, à la relation entre le narrateur et l'auditeur et à la superposition de narrations personnelles et publiques dans la reconstruction de ces souvenirs. Le thème du silence et de la narration y est aussi exploré en sachant que toute transposition par écrit de souvenirs représente toujours un acte politique.

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