Terrain of Memory

Kirsten McAllister
Publisher / Publication: 
UBC Press
Publication Date: 
Jan 2010
Terrain of Memory by Kirsten McAllister

For communities who have been the target of political violence, the after-effects can haunt what remains of their families, their communities, and the societies in which they live.

Terrain of Memory tells the story of Japanese Canadians elders who built a memorial in 1994 to mark a village in an isolated mountainous valley in British Columbia with their history of persecution. Unlike conventional narratives about the history of Japanese Canadian internment camps, this book focuses on the power of collective memory to commemorate a site of political violence and rebuild relations of trust and understanding. This book presents the challenges the elders faced, including the reluctance of some to excavate the village’s painful past and attempts to turn the memorial into a tourist site. It shows how their memorial transformed the valley where once over 7,000 women, men, and children were interned into a pilgrimage site for Japanese Canadians where they can mourn and pay their respects to the wartime generation.

Terrain of Memory will appeal to those interested in Japanese Canadian internment camps and the history of racial cleansing, as well as to those wanting to learn about the complexities of researching collective memory.  

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