Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Phoebe Young

Second Advisor

Sungyun Lim

Third Advisor

Daryl Maeda


Memorializing history transforms it into a consumable narrative for a public audience, a narrative that despite any intentions otherwise will always be a political act that includes some details at the expense of others. This thesis primarily addresses two broad topics, the history of Japanese American Internment in the state of Colorado and the process of creating historical narratives through memorialization. The memorial landscape of Japanese American Internment in the state of Colorado reveals two narratives, one produced by Japanese American communities and one produced by second group this thesis refers to as State Actors, meaning institutions that are either direct state funded entities, receive state funding and support, or carry the appearance of state approval. The narratives these groups produce, what themes they privilege and those they ignore, speak to the process of claiming and asserting identities in the post interment years. The historical narratives created through memorialization both favor themes of patriotism and patriotic sacrifice but to different ends. Japanese American narratives center themes of patriotism as a form of protection, agency, and later advocacy. State narratives come later and build off the Japanese American memorial landscape to present the same themes stripped of context in a way that largely precludes audiences from a critical experience of history.