A Challenge to Democracy: Ethnic Profiling of Japanese Americans During World War II

September 18, 2009 - January 4, 2010
Kemper Art Museum, Teaching Gallery


Drawing from an array of popular media, documentary photography, and personal artworks, this exhibition explores the various visual representations of Japanese Americans during the 1940s. Within months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, the US government forcibly evacuated and interned over 120,000 west coast residents of Japanese ancestry (over two-thirds of whom were US citizens) in camps that were hastily constructed on barren federal land and manned by armed military police. Images of Japanese Americans during this period provide a provocative entry point for considering this tragic chapter of American history and reflecting on current attempts to grapple with notions of ethnicity and national identity.

A Challenge to Democracy is curated by art history PhD candidates Anna Warbelow and Elissa Weichbrodt, with Angela Miller, professor of art history and archaeology and American culture studies.

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values and part of an extensive lineup of films, performances, lectures, and other programs focusing on the issue of ethnic profiling slated for fall 2009. For further information about the series please contact: the Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values: phone: 314.935.9358; email: EthicsCenter@wustl.edu; and humanvalues.wustl.edu.