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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 22, 2007

Nov. 2 lecture explores experiences of Japanese Americans during WWII

A University of Iowa alumnus will visit campus to discuss the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Japanese-American men who resisted the draft, and how those events are depicted in documentaries like Ken Burns' "The War," a series currently airing on PBS.

Kent Ono, who earned a doctorate in Communication Studies from the UI in 1992 and is now a professor of Asian-American Studies and Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 in Lecture Room 1 at Van Allen Hall. The free, public lecture, "The Test of Japanese American Loyalty During World War II: Documenting Decisions to Resist the Draft," is sponsored by the UI's Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts.

Ono will discuss how Japanese-American men resisted the draft by standing up for their constitutional rights of citizenship and a fair trial. He'll discuss whether new documentaries such as Burns' "The War" and Frank Abe's "Conscience and the Constitution" (2000) create a cultural memory of masculine heroism or a sense of tragic citizenship. Ono also plans to explain why this struggle for civil rights is something about which all Americans should be proud.

Ono is the author of "A Companion to Asian American Studies" (2005) and the co-author of "Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and California's Proposition 187" (2002). His lecture is based on research for his forthcoming book on film and video exploration of the wartime mass internment of Japanese Americans.

Co-sponsors of the event are the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), the Graduate College, the Office of the Provost and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation for Midwest academic consortium of teaching and research universities.

Drawing on the UI's distinctive strengths in the arts, the UI Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts was established in 2006 as the first research center to focus on creative expression as a specific important cultural component of ethnic communities and their heritage. The center is housed in the American Studies department in the CLAS and is funded by the CLAS, the Graduate College, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Provost. For more information on the center, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Anyone needing an accommodation should call the Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts in advance at 319-384-3490.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lauren Rabinovitz, UI Center for Ethnic Studies and the Arts, 319-384-3490,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,