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Nikkei Identities in the United States

Updated: May 2, 2022

How do we conceptualize identity? What does it mean to be Nikkei? What is the historical experience of Japanese Americans in the United States? How do Nikkei people relate to Japan?

This course will conceptualize identity in depth through historic and personal explorations. We will examine notions of the empire, racialization, and culture from Japanese pre-war immigration and settlement, racial exclusion, World War II incarceration, post-1965 immigration, and 21st century Nikkei cultural production.

In addition to known historic events in Japanese American history, we will also discuss the contemporary Nikkei community including populations often excluded in the dominant narratives. We will use the framework of transpacific study to look at the Nikkei experience in relation to the social and political development in Japan.

How did early Japanese immigrants identify themselves in the US? Did Nikkei people find home in the US? How does culture influence ideology and identity?

Full syllabus here.

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