Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2015


"While prior scholarship on Japanese American Internment during World War II has been prolific, few have researched the role the natural environment played within the camps and the impact it had on the internees. Some scholars have supposed that the environment was chiefly a negative influence, like Connie Chiang, but few have studied the resourceful accomplishments of the internees in designing and cultivating gardens that reflected both their ancestral identity and contemporary American sensibility. Scholars such as Kenneth Helphand argued that the gardens were strictly an act of defiance. Others like David Neiwert lay claim to the Japanese immigrant enclave losing its sense of community during internment. This paper will discuss how, in actuality, through the gardens, the internees were able to convert their space from a form of social discipline into one of personal power and communal restitution."


McKenzie Tavoda won Honorable Mention in the 2014-2015 Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize for her essay describing her use of library resources to create a piece of original scholarship about the impact of the natural environment on Japanese detainees in internment camps. This essay, her senior thesis, is the original scholarship that emerged from that research.