Arthur A. Hansen

Art Hansen is Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he retired in 2008 as the director of the Center for Oral and Public History.  Between 2001 and 2005, he served as Senior Historian at the Japanese American National Museum.

Updated October 2009

culture en

Reconceptualizing the narrative of American art

I have always been intrigued by the titles authors select to represent their books, and most especially if they are as deftly apt as that ShiPu Wang has devised for the volume under review. Whereas the designation American moderns has customarily been used to depict such canonical white artists as Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and John Marin (1870-1953), Wang devotes his critical attention to four American moderns of Japanese ancestry: Frank Matsura (1873-1913), Eitaro Ishigaki (1893-1958), Hideo Noda (1908-1939) and Miki Hayakawa (1899-1953). He resourcefully and strategically uses this quartet of “forgotten” minority artists ...

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identity en

Fathoming the ‘lessons and limits of history’

In his insightful Sept. 13, 2017 Christian Science Monitor review of Karen Tei Yamashita’s Letters to Memory, Terry Hong concluded with this appraisal: “Allusive, quirky, questioning, Letters is a challenging text . . . dense with assumptions of cultural literacy, community insight, historical background. . . . (However) don’t be deterred (as) Letters awaits your inquisitive participation and rewarding collaboration.” My own initial reading of this brilliant book, whose form and content reached well beyond my grasp, inclined me toward affirming Hong’s assessment. Before reading it a second time, however, I decided to listen to an engaging and illuminating interview with Yamashita about ...

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culture en

‘Jewel’ of a tribute to Heart Mountain

Sharon Yamato is truly a lovely person. She is also a lyrical writer, a seasoned journalist, a capable historian, a skilled interviewer, an accomplished curator and a talented filmmaker. The daughter of parents who were World War II prisoners in the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona, she was born after the war in the Japanese American resettlement community of Denver, Colo., and thereafter raised and educated in Los Angeles. While coming of age, Yamato shared with many others in the Sansei generation an unawareness of her family and racial-ethnic group’s unjust wartime exclusion and incarceration experience. In 1976, however ...

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culture en

Documenting an evolving movement

In recognition of my modest role in the conception and organization of this stellar volume, I received a complimentary copy from Lane Hirabayashi, the lead editor for the robust NCRR editorial team (the others being Richard Katsuda, Kathy Masaoka, Kay Ochi, Suzy Katsuda, and Janice Iwanaga Yen). Along with the book, Hirabayashi attached a short note: “This project exemplifies what Asian American Studies is about for me. From, through, and reflecting grassroots knowledge.” Having had the good fortune to read a substantial portion of his prodigious scholarly output during his 35-year academic career at San Francisco State University, the University ...

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education en

Complicat(i)ng the 'mosaic' of history

This impressive volume, published at the semi-centennial of Asian American studies, serves admirably as an authoritative marker of Asian American history’s coming of age. Edited by two stalwarts in the field, David K. Yoo and Eiichiro Azuma, it consists of a masterful overview introduction by them, plus 27 in-depth historiographical essays penned by leading scholars that are representative of this vibrant multifarious branch of U.S. history. All but one of these scholars are Asian Americans of various ethnicities, with the exception being notable Nichi Bei Weekly columnist Greg Robinson.

In addition to Robinson’s insightful essay on “Asian ...

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