Erin Aoyama

MA'19American Studies PhD Student

As a Ph.D. student in American Studies here at Brown, I am interested in studying the experience of Japanese Americans within a broader context of American racial studies, examined through the lenses of solidarity history and transnational racial studies. In addition to understanding the impact of World War II incarceration and its aftermath, I'm interested in the larger historiographical questions raised about the limits of passing, the use of race as a political wedge, and the possible redirection of race after the Civil Rights Movement that affected more than African Americans in the South. My research focuses on the ways in which Japanese American identity is understood in our national memory, while also examining more broadly how the formation of such racial identities impacts our understanding of American history and the role of the United States in the world. I am excited to be in the Public Humanities program to work towards understanding the impact of the internment experience as a chapter in the history of race in America, potentially through public education, curricular design, or museum work.