WKCTC Presentation to Discuss WWII Prison Camp

Dr. Benjamin Cooper, a lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, will visit the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College to discuss the World War II prison camp of Manzanar on February 24.

Cooper will present “Manzanar Memory” on Monday February 24 at 11 a.m. in Matheson Library. The one-hour presentation is free and open to the public.

Cooper will discuss the problems raised in the representation and remembrance of wartime captivity by looking specifically at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II, where approximately 11,000 Japanese American citizens were imprisoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Kim Russell, WKCTC English program coordinator, said Cooper’s presentation at WKCTC is particularly timely for our campus because this year’s campus read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford focuses on the issue of Japanese internment in the U.S. during World War II.  “This part of our history is not one that is often studied in many history classes, and students will have the opportunity to learn more about this topic through Cooper’s lecture,” said Russell.

Cooper’s presentation will rely on archival testimony and the imagery of American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams and American documentary photographer and photojournalist Dorothea Lange, as well as his own personal images and reflections. Cooper will ask the audience to reconsider the place of Manzanar and wartime captivity more broadly in their cultural memory.

Cooper’s research interests focus largely on soldier literature and veteran culture of the nineteenth century, although current projects on captivity and the Cold War have brought him into the twentieth century. He earned his doctoral degree from Washington University in St. Louis and has published most recently in Arizona Quarterly and in an upcoming edited collection from Rutgers University Press.

For more information contact Britton Shurley at (270) 534-3243 or britton.shurley@kctcs.edu.