The Transnational in ‘Japanese’ Civilian Internment Camps in Australia and India

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Transnational Spaces of India and Australia


The civilian internment camp can be read as a transnational space in that it gathers together in a clearly demarcated enclave within a national space an international group of ‘alien’ people. National identities are reconfigured within the camp, and the camp’s presence disrupts the smooth fabric of the ‘host’ nation, sometimes reshaping spaces of self and other in interactions between guards and those detained. While there is a body of work recording Prisoner of War (POW) experiences of Australians in areas of Japanese control during World War II, there is less work on the complexities of ‘Japanese’ held in allied internment camps. This chapter draws on archival material not only about internment camps in Australia but also the lesser-known camps in India, showing the variety of people detained as ‘Japanese’ and the complex relations among those detained, as well as the national and international interests of those detaining them.

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