Enfolding Silence is a sociological study of how Japanese Americans have developed various art forms to cope with, resist, and transform traumatic experiences of racism, including the mass, unlawful internment of nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. By examining an extended ethnographic case study, educators and students can reflect on how a community teaches aesthetically across generations, as one generation traumatized by racism teaches what matters culturally, aesthetically, and spiritually to the next. The author (Brett J. Esaki) analyzes four Japanese American art forms—gardening, origami, jazz, and monuments—in terms of what he calls “non-binary silence.” Esaki uses the metaphor of silence as a tool to enable readers to grasp the complexity of Japanese American art, showing how art has facilitated one community to be and become more authentic and whole in the face of adversity. For scholars and students of aesthetic education, this volume raises awareness of assumptions about silence and space, as it expands preconceived, common notions of these terms. It fosters appreciation for the pedagogic richness of art forms that are familiar to many, placing them in historical, religious, cultural, and political perspective. Finally, the book illumines the role of art in resisting oppression, providing rich cases that can be mined for implications for aesthetic education.


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pp. 119-124
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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