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A Race So DifferentPerformance and Law in Asian America$
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Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738399

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738399.001.0001

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The Nail That Stands Out

The Nail That Stands Out

The Political Performativity of the Moriyuki Shimada Scrapbook

(p.133) 4 The Nail That Stands Out
A Race So Different

Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

NYU Press

This chapter examines Moriyuki Shimada's photograph—the evidence of his defiance against the ban on taking pictures of Japanese American camp's military installations. His photographs are performative acts that “disturb” the state's visual representation of the camps as voluntary and “rupture” the law's figuration of Japanese Americans as homogeneous national security threats. They are scenes of encounter, whereby the photograph performs for the spectator, creating an affective relationship with the spectator that invites him or her to perform in response to the photograph. In general, these pictures function as performatives that interrupt both the subjection of Japanese Americans through visuals means and the government's attempt to erase any images of the true, military nature of the camps.

Keywords:   Moriyuki Shimada, Japanese American camp, military installations, national security threats, spectator, performatives, military nature

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