The Life of Paper: Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity

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Univ of California Press, Nov 21, 2017 - History - 314 pages
The Life of Paper offers a wholly original and inspiring analysis of how people facing systematic social dismantling have engaged letter correspondence to remake themselves—from bodily integrity to subjectivity and collective and spiritual being. Exploring the evolution of racism and confinement in California history, this ambitious investigation disrupts common understandings of the early detention of Chinese migrants (1880s–1920s), the internment of Japanese Americans (1930s–1940s), and the mass incarceration of African Americans (1960s–present) in its meditation on modern development and imprisonment as a way of life. Situating letters within global capitalist movements, racial logics, and overlapping modes of social control, Sharon Luk demonstrates how correspondence becomes a poetic act of reinvention and a way to live for those who are incarcerated. 
 
 

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Contents

The Life of Paper
1
part
25
The Inventions of China
33
Imagined Genealogies for All Who Cannot Arrive
51
8
58
Wong Sor Gam to Father ca 18 December 1916 original letter
81
From Miné Okubos Citizen 13660 1946 22
88
part
89
Petition for Reunion of Our Family Member Chiyomi Amy
141
Handwriting practice on lined paper Japanese American Evacuation
148
Mikio Masuda to Edward J Ennis 2 February 1944
156
part three
161
Ephemeral Value and Disused Commodities
169
Uses of the Profane
193
A Letter from the Youth The Black Panther 15 March 1970
199
Robert Lester Jackson from A Dialogue with My Soledad Son
211

EXAMINED
95
Censorship and the Work of Art Where They Barbed
120
Excerpt from Hanaye to Iwao Matsushita 6 August 1942
127
Leaves enclosed with a letter from Iwao to Hanaye Matsushita
133
Acknowledgments
229
Notes
235
Bibliography
279
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Sharon Luk is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of Oregon. 

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