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

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A ‘Comprehensive Treatment’ of the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans

During the 1980s, I was privileged to co-direct the Honorable Stephen K. Tamura Orange County Japanese American Oral History Project (OCJAOHP), jointly sponsored by the Japanese American Council of the Historical and Cultural Foundation of Orange County and the Japanese American Project of the Oral History Program at California State University, Fullerton. In addition to producing 15 bilingual oral history volumes with pioneering Issei and Nisei, this project yielded a survey of Japanese American historical sites in Orange County and gave rise to the 1989 publication by Lynx Books of an epi...

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The American Democratic and Multicultural Promise

In 1949, when I was 10 years old, my family moved from New Jersey to Goleta, Calif., where I enrolled as a sixth grader in Goleta Union School. It historically had always been an integrated school, as were the schools in the neighboring county seat of Santa Barbara. However, another Santa Barbara County town, Carpinteria, for some 27 years prior to 1947, had consigned its Mexican American students, mostly children of lemon workers, to the segregated classrooms of Aliso School. There, according to John D. McCafferty, a former Aliso School student and author of the 2003 book Aliso School: &ls...

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A ‘consequential’ collection of JA history

This is the second of two outstanding books by eminent historian and journalist Greg Robinson consisting primarily of his “The Great Unknown and the Unknown Great” columns in the San Francisco-based Nichi Bei Weekly. In reviewing for the NBW the first book, The Great Unknown: Japanese American Sketches, published by the University Press of Colorado in 2016, I explained that its 10 chapters encompassed the “‘unknown’ activities and/or achievements of selected noteworthy individuals.” As for the University of Washington Press volume here un...

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Minding and mining the gaps of one family’s trauma

I immensely enjoyed and was greatly enlightened by Sansei psychotherapist Judy Kawamoto’s singular book. I would classify its genre as a meditative memoir. As she succinctly notes, “psychotherapy is dubbed ‘the talking cure’” (pp. 80). It typically involves a therapist asking patients probing in-depth questions about every aspect of their lives so as to assist them with addressing and redressing their problems. In the case of Forced Out, Kawamoto enacts the twin role of therapist and patient. All of her questions, therefore, are rhetorical ones posed to herse...

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Book on Heart Mountain football team achieves brilliance

For a number of years I have been working on a sports and society book treating the social and cultural transformation of Southern California in the early Cold War period through the lens of prep football as epitomized by a Dec. 14, 1956, California Interscholastic Federation championship game between Downey High School and Anaheim High School played before a record crowd of between 40 and 60,000 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum. I sensed that I was stalled in completing it by a fatal flaw, but did not fully realize what precisely that flaw was until I ran across a March 5, 2021, Washing...

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