Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kang, Thinking Through Internment: 12/7 and 9/11

Thinking Through Internment: 12/7 and 9/11 is an article by Jerry Kang, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. It appeared in the Berkeley Asian Law Journal in 2002, and so would have been written in the months immediately following September 11, 2001. While work written during that time will of course have its own value, it is also part of a genre of post 9/11 writing that is in need of critical attention. Just about enough time has passed for us to compare writing during the fall of 2001 and 2002 with works written after (and before). The question of how to periodize such works is unclear. And the impact of these works will continue to play out for some time. But still, post-9/11 intellectual history strikes me an an important project.

Here's Kang's abstract:
The terrorist attacks on 9-11 have frequently been analogized to Pearl Harbor. In many ways, the analogy is apt. Just as that attack launched us into World War II, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have launched us into a new kind of war against terrorism. But waging this sort of borderless war poses great risks, not only to the soldiers commanded to fight but also to core American values. In this way, Pearl Harbor raises other disturbing memories, those of the internment. In this essay, Professor Kang draws lessons from the internment of Japanese Americans to the current war on terror.