The interactive public humanities series, Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging, continues this fall with a two-day exploration of “Captivity and Resistance” Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16, at locations in Monticello and McGehee.
“Captivity and Resistance” features presentations and site visits by historians, archeologists and artists whose work delves into the Arkansas stories of Japanese Americans in internment camps, German and Italian prisoners-of-war and African Americans living under Jim Crow Laws during World War II. These events are free and open to the public.
“Drawing on folktale, art, literature and historical documents, the program moves beyond victimhood narratives to engage with how each group navigated and resisted these forms of captivity,” said Kathryn Sloan, professor of history and director of the Arkansas Humanities Center. “This two-day exploration gives voice to the thousands of diverse peoples who left their imprint on our land, our culture and our ideas.”
The first day of events will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, in conference room 102 in the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources:
Opening Social at 4 p.m. and Captivity and Resistance at 4:30 p.m.
A talk by Johanna Miller Lewis, professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The People Could Fly: Interactive Narrative and Historical Empathy at 5 p.m.
A virtual reality experience with the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
“From Caffé Latte to Catholic Mass: Camp Monticello, an Italian POW Camp” at 6 p.m.
A talk by Jodi Barnes, associate archeologist at the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
A Screening of “Faces Like Ours” at 6:30 p.m.
A documentary about the nearly 25,000 German and Italian POWs during the 1940s, who were housed in camps in Arkansas, including Camp Monticello, Camp Dermott, Camp Chaffee and Camp Robinson.
Optional Dinner at Joe’s Italian Bistro at 7 p.m.
Participants may dine on their own or have dinner at Monticello restaurant Joe’s Italian Bistro, which will be preparing meal specials available for purchase based on the menus from Camp Monticello.
The second day of events will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at various sites in Monticello, McGehee, and Rohwer, Arkansas:
Visit to Camp Monticello, the Italian POW Site at 9 a.m.
Led by Jodi Barnes, associate archaeologist at the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
Visit to the World War II Japanese American Internment Museum at 11:40 a.m.
Between 1942 and 1945, more than 8,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center in Arkansas – a 500-acre camp surrounded by barbed wire and armed guard towers. Although most physical remains have been wiped from the landscape, important stories remain to be shared.
Free Lunch at the McGehee Municipal Complex at 12:30 p.m.
This free lunch will be based on a menu from the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center, researched and prepared by Joseph Brajcki.
“The Other Side of the Fence” at 1:15 p.m.
A talk by John Newman, painter, native of Rohwer, and emeritus professor of art from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
“Using Digital Technologies to Document and Interpret Japanese American Internment in Arkansas” at 1:45
A talk by Kimball Erdman, associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Visit to Rohwer Japanese American Internment Camp from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
Led by Kimball Erdman and Richard Yada, a lifelong Arkansan who was born in the Rohwer camp.
Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to each event, but parking will be available.
About Arkansas Stories: The series, Arkansas Stories of Place and Belonging, is an innovative public scholarship and engagement series at the University of Arkansas, funded by a Chancellor’s Innovation and Collaboration Grant, that brings together scholar-experts, students, and the general public to engage in informed conversations about the region’s fascinating history of human interaction. Utilizing objects and places as focal points to narrate compelling stories of the movement of humans and ideas across centuries, Arkansas Stories illuminates what makes up our common heritage.
About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments, and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.