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 Stirring Memoir of Adolescent Manzanar Stories Weaved With Senior Hiking Adventures

My first trip of many to the World War II Manzanar concentration camp site occurred in the spring of 1972. On that occasion I accompanied my California State University, Fullerton, Nisei colleague, Kinji Yada, on his personal pilgrimage to the place in eastern California’s Owens Valley where, as a young teenager in 1942, the U.S. government had imprisoned him and his family “for the duration” and to which he had not returned since his 1945 departure. Four decades later, in May 2011, I found myself again in the Manzanar vicinity to attend a Manzanar National Historic Site …

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Asian American Movement Study Showcases U.S. Cultural Radicalism’s Robust Tradition

At California State University, Fullerton, I taught history, Asian American studies and American studies courses. My favorite was an American studies offering developed in the mid-1970s: “American Cultural Radicalism.” If now teaching it, I assuredly would assign Daryl Maeda’s Chains of Babylon. The best study on the Asian American Movement’s origins and early ascent, it also brilliantly showcases U.S. cultural radicalism’s robust tradition. While cultural radicalism can be defined variably, “one of its central characteristics,” according to cultur…

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A Historical Anthology on Redress

In the 2011 PAN-JAPAN special issue NEGLECTED LEGACIES: Japanese American Women and the Redress/Reparations Movement, guest editor Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, an Asian American studies professor at UCLA (where he is also the George & Sakaye Aratani chair in Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community), acknowledges that in (resourcefully) editing the papers comprising Neglected Legacies and in writing up his published (and very perceptive) introduction to them, he benefitted from his interactions with three notable Sansei activists. One of these third-generation Nikkei, Grant Uji…

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Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 3 of 3

Read Part 2 >> As a historian who has spent the better part of the last four decades researching, teaching, and doing fieldwork and writing on the World War II Japanese American story, I also find Nurse of Manzanar to possess social value in regards to how it helps to fill in the informational gaps in that important story as well as opening it up (often inadvertently through its silences) to new lines of inquiry and enhancement. So let me now spell out, briefly, the special contribution of Nurse of Manzanar to the major topics addressed within its pages: the impact of World War II …

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Foreword to Nurse of Manzanar - Part 2 of 3

Read Part 1 >> I would like to enter one final comment about the intrinsic merit of Toshiko Eto Nakamura’s manuscript before changing gears to consider its social value. It can be plausibly argued that the memoir is too narrowly focused in its chronological scope. To be sure, the author does bound her manuscript temporally within the bookends of December 7, 1941, when the news of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor precipitated a punitive public policy and attitude toward Japanese Americans, and March 26, 1943, when she bids farewell to the barbed-wire world of Manzanar to …

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