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Nature Behind Barbed WireAn Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration$
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Connie Y. Chiang

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190842062

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190842062.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 July 2021

Choosing Sites, Building Camps

Choosing Sites, Building Camps

(p.40) 2 Choosing Sites, Building Camps
Nature Behind Barbed Wire

Connie Y. Chiang

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the process by which the War Relocation Authority selected camp sites, acquired the land, and built the camps, with close attention to how the natural world shaped selection and construction decisions. Despite the notion that Japanese Americans were exiled to the middle of nowhere, the WRA was deliberate in choosing sites. The camps had to be far from urban areas and places of strategic importance, but they also had to have favorable growing conditions for large-scale farm programs and adequate infrastructure—water, sanitation, electricity—for thousands of detainees. This chapter also analyzes how Japanese American detainees reacted to the camps and how the WRA addressed the initial environmental challenges, especially the dust and desert heat.

Keywords:   War Relocation Authority, Japanese Americans, construction, dust, heat

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