Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study


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The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) was a multi-disciplinary academic study on the migration, confinement, and resettlement of Japanese Americans during World War II. The project was conceived of by University of California Berkeley sociologist Dorothy Swaine Thomas shortly after Executive Order 9066 and ran through the war years under her direction. Funded by the university and several foundations, the project employed over two dozen Japanese American and non-Japanese American fieldworkers who gathered data from four of the "assembly centers," six of the War Relocation Authority administered concentration camps, and several resettlement communities outside the West Coast. The project generated three official books published by the University of California Press between 1946 and 1954. The project also generated an enormous amount of data that has been used in numerous other studies. The JERS project has been controversial due to the manner in which the data was collected and to admitted ethical lapses by its field workers.

See also Bureau of Sociological Research, Poston, Charles Kikuchi, Community analysts, Richard S. Nishimoto, Togo Tanaka, Tamie Tsuchiyama.

For More Information

JERS online archive at the Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley. http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/jais/index.html.

Official JERS Publications

Thomas, Dorothy S., and Richard Nishimoto. The Spoilage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1946, 1969.

Thomas, Dorothy S. The Salvage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1952.

tenBroek, Jacobus, Edward N. Barnhart, and Floyd Matson. Prejudice, War, and the Constitution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954.

Other Publications Built on JERS Research

Grodzins, Morton. Americans Betrayed: Politics and the Japanese Evacuation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949.

Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo. The Politics of Fieldwork: Research in an American Concentration Camp. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.

Kikuchi, Charles. The Kikuchi Diary: Chronicle from an American Concentration Camp. John Modell, ed. and introd. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973. Illini Books ed., 1993.

Nishimoto, Richard. Inside An American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at Poston, Arizona. Ed. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995.

Works About JERS

Hansen, Arthur A. "The Evacuation and Resettlement Study at the Gila River Relocation Center, 1942–1944." Journal of the West 38.2 (April 1999): 45–55.

Ichioka, Yuji, ed. Views from Within: The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study. Los Angeles: Asian American Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989.

Inouye, Karen M. "Japanese American Wartime Experience, Tamotsu Shibutani and Methodological Innovation, 1942–1978." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (2012). Published online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jhbs.21564/full.

Murray, Alice Yang. Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Murray, Stephen O. "The Rights of Research Assistants and the Rhetoric of Political Suppression: Morton Grodzins and the University of California Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement Study." Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences 27.2 (Apr. 1991): 130-56.

Suzuki, Peter T. "The University of California Japanese Evacuation and Resettlement Study: A Prolegomenon." Dialectical Anthropology 10 (1986): 189-213. Reprinted in The Big Aiiieeeee!: An Anthology of Chinese American and Japanese American Literature. Ed. Jeffery Paul Chan, Frank Chin, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong. New York: Meridian, 1991. 370-411.

Wax, Rosalie H. Doing Fieldwork: Warnings and Advice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971.