Imprisoned in the Desert: The Geography of World War II-Era, Japanese American Relocation Centers in the Western United States
Evacuation of persons of Japanese descent from the U.S. West Coast to inland, arid sites in 1942 contains elements of all aspects of traditional geography, including physical, human, and regional sub-disciplines; however, few geographers have written on the topic. Further, little has been written about the landscapes in which the Japanese Americans were incarcerated, and how the evacuees interacted with the landscapes while they were incarcerated.
This book focuses on the geography of each of the eight western U.S. relocation centers–Amache, Gila River, Heart Mountain, Manzanar, Minidoka, Poston, Topaz, and Tule Lake. Common to all in their western U.S. locations was aridity. All were located in arid or semi-arid environments. The Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas centers were excluded from this study because of their locations well east and in vastly different environments than the remainder of the sites. They were also the shortest-lived centers of the ten.
Download the document as a single PDF file, or as individual chapters.
Chapter 1 - Introduction ( 883 KB)
Chapter 2 - Background to Japanese American Relocation (1.4 MB)
Chapter 3 - Amache (24.1 MB)
Chapter 4 - Heart Mountain (8.3 MB)
Chapter 5 - Minidoka (7.3 MB)
Chapter 6 - Tule Lake (7.9 MB)
Chapter 7 - Topaz (7.6 MB)
Chapter 8 - Manzanar (7.9 MB)
Chapter 9 - Poston (7.4 MB)
Chapter 10 - Gila River (8.0 MB)
Chapter 11 - Conclusions (694 KB)
Appendix A - Methods (38 KB)
Appendix B - Japanese American relocation Timeline (65 KB)
Appendix C - Loyalty Questionnaire (53 KB)
Appendix D - Questions for Students (71 KB)
The geography department is hosting Dr. Issaka Kanton Osamuna, a visiting Fulbright Scholar from GhaCentral Washington Historical Aerial Photograph Project
The Geography Department's digital collection of historical aerial photographs is available online.