Journal Article — “it’s just a dream, just a dream”: The WWII Japanese-American Internment in the U.S. in a Sociological Imagination Class Exercise — by Thomas J. Mason, Kathleen M. Powers, and Emmett Schaefer
This is an account of a “Race and Power in the US” course exercise conducted at UMass Boston. In a unit on the Japanese-American internment during WWII and the movement for reparations in the 1970s and 1980s that culminated in 1988 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act into law, the students are asked to put themselves in the shoes of a Japanese-American and to write a letter to a family member. The purpose of the assignment is to help foster in the students sensitivity (to paraphrase C. Wright Mills) to the interplay between socio-historical contexts and the individuals responding to them. The article includes a summary of the sociological imagination exercise as reported by the instructor, and two imaginative letters written by students.
Mason, Thomas J., Kathleen M. Powers, and Emmett Schaefer. 2008. ““it’s just a dream, just a dream”: The WWII Japanese-American Internment in the U.S. in a Sociological Imagination Class Exercise.” Pp. 73-78 in Sociological Imaginations from the Classroom: Plus A Symposium on the Sociology of Science Perspectives on the Malfunctions of Science and Peer Reviewing (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VI, Issue 2, 2008.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).
The various editions of Sociological Imaginations from the Classroom: Plus A Symposium on the Sociology of Science Perspectives on the Malfunctions of Science and Peer Reviewing can be ordered from the Okcir Store and are also available for ordering from all major online bookstores worldwide (such as Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and others).
Free-Access Okcir Library ReadingMas-Powers-Schaefer-human-architecture-soc-imag-classroom