Steph Hinnershitz, PhD in conversation with Rob Citino, PhD
February 17, 2022 | 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Note: Program is preceded by a reception at 5:00 p.m. (CT), and a book signing follows at 7:00 p.m. (CT).
The Museum is proud to feature one of its own, Dr. Steph Hinnershitz, to discuss her recently released book Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor during World War II, which places the forced removal and incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II within a history of US prison labor and exploitation.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal of those deemed “threats” to national security from the West Coast to “relocation camps.”
To commemorate the 80th anniversary of this event and discuss its historical context, Dr. Hinnershitz will answer questions from the Museum’s Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian, Dr. Rob Citino.
Following Executive Order 9066, the federal government placed Japanese Americans in makeshift prisons throughout the country. In addition to working on day-to-day operations of the camps, Japanese Americans were coerced into harvesting crops, digging irrigation ditches, paving roads, and building barracks for little to no compensation and often at the behest of privately run businesses—all in the name of national security.
How did the US government use incarceration to address labor demands during World War II, and how did imprisoned Japanese Americans respond to the stripping of not only their civil rights, but their labor rights as well? Using a variety of archives and collected oral histories, Japanese American Incarceration uncovers the startling answers to these questions. Stephanie D. Hinnershitz's timely study connects the government's exploitation of imprisoned Japanese Americans to the history of prison labor in the United States.
About the Author
Steph Hinnershitz joined the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy as a Historian in June of 2021. Before coming to The National WWII Museum, she held teaching positions at Valdosta State University in Georgia, Cleveland State University in Ohio, and West Point. She received her PhD in American History in 2013 from the University of Maryland and specializes in the history of civil-military relations on the US home front during World War II. She has published books and articles on Asian American history including Race, Religion, and Civil Rights: Asian Students on the West Coast, 1900-1968 and A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South. Her most recent book, Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor during World War II, was recently published with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, West Point, the Social Science Research Council, the Library of Congress, and the US Army Heritage and Education Center among others.