Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


World War II Internment Camp Survivors: The Stories and Life Experiences of Japanese American Women

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Radhika Gajjala (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Louisa Ha (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Lynda Dixon (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Ellen Gorsevski (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Sherlon Pack-Brown (Committee Member)


On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 required all people of Japanese ancestry in America (one-eighth of Japanese blood or more), living on the west coast to be relocated into internment camps. Over 120,000 people were forced to leave their homes, businesses, and all their belongings except for one suitcase and were placed in barbed-wire internment camps patrolled by armed police. This study looks at narratives, stories, and experiences of Japanese American women who experienced the World War II internment camps through an anti-colonial theoretical framework and ethnographic methods. The use of ethnographic methods and interviews with the generation of Japanese American women who experienced part of their lives in the United State World War II internment camps explores how it affected their lives during and after World War II. The researcher of this study hopes to learn how Japanese American women reflect upon and describe their lives before, during, and after the internment camps, document the narratives of the Japanese American women who were imprisoned in the internment camps, and research how their experiences have been told to their children and grandchildren.