Through an analysis of the economy of sight in Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660 (1946), this article argues that, as a graphic memoir, it registers a structure of feeling of racialized citizenship in the racial break. Following Okubo’s experience of incarceration, Citizen traces the changing practices of Japanese incarceration as different forms of racial subjection linked to the (re)formation of racial subjectivity. Hence, Citizen’s seemingly progressive narrative trajectory belies an ambivalent development in which the contradiction of racialized citizenship gets remediated as a temporal problem. In doing this, Citizen demonstrates how the racial break represented less a rupture than a continuation—how the antagonisms of racialized citizenship under white supremacy are sublimated by racial liberal rule.
Citizenship in the Racial Break: Japanese Incarceration and Racial Subjectivity in Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660
Christian Ravela is assistant professor of humanities and cultural studies in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. He specializes in twentieth-century US multiethnic literature, comparative ethnic studies, and critical theory. His work has been published in Modern Fiction Studies, MELUS, Genre, Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, Cultural Critique, Lateral, and American Studies. His current book project, “An Interethnic Wordliness: Multiethnic Bildungsromans and the Negative Dialectic of Race,” focuses on the late twentieth-century US multiethnic bildungsroman.
Christian Ravela; Citizenship in the Racial Break: Japanese Incarceration and Racial Subjectivity in Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2021; 67 (3): 293–316. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-9373733
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