Bonnie Clark - Anthropology and Community

Bonnie Clark

October 08, 2020
The Great Hall

Reflection | Podcast | VideoPhotos

Eccles Visiting Scholar George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
SUU and A.P.E.X. Events is most grateful for the support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation which made this event possible.


Bonnie Clark is an Associate Professor in the University of Denver's Anthropology Department. A professional archaeologist since 1990, Dr. Clark's work has focused on using the tangible past-- artifacts, architecture, settlement patterns--to tell a more inclusive history of western North America. Dr. Clark's research interests include the relationships between material culture, ethnicity, and gender; cultural landscapes; community-engaged research; and heritage management.

In this talk Dr Clark will address her findings on the Archaeology of Japanese American Confinement at Amache, Colorado. Here is some more information on that project:

The forced removal and subsequent internment of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent from their homes along the west coast of the U.S. during World War II is a pivotal incident in world history. The internment camps themselves are significant resources for better understanding this shadowed history. Occupations of people relocated because of their ancestry to new environmental settings, these sites can contribute to the archaeological study of important scholarly topics, including identity, confinement, and placemaking. Since 2008, Dr. Bonnie Clark has led archaeological investigations at the site of Amache, Colorado’s internment camp. In this illustrated talk Clark will discuss the methods and results of the project, highlighting insights about the camp’s landscape and the strategies of a confined people to reknit community and reclaim humanity. The presentation will also reflect on how archaeology done in conversation with a contemporary community can mobilize heritage. This happens through the data uncovered, the stakeholders engaged, and the public dialogue encouraged.


Reflection

 

On October 9th, 2020, A.P.E.X. Events presented anthropologist Dr. Bonnie J. Clark. Dr. Bonnie J. Clark is an associate professor at the University of Denver's Anthropology Department. A professional archaeologist since 1990, Dr. Clark's work has focused on using the tangible past-- artifacts, architecture, settlement patterns--to tell a more inclusive history of western North America. Since 2005 her primary and current research focus has been the DU Amache Project, a collaborative endeavor committed to preserving, researching, and interpreting the tangible remains of Amache, the World War II Japanese American incarceration camp in Colorado. Dr. Clark was unable to attend in person, so she gave her presentation and interacted with A.P.E.X. Events Director, Dr. Lynn Vartan, virtually from Denver.

Following an introduction from SUU’s History, Sociology, and Anthropology Department Chair, Dr. Emily Dean, Dr. Clark began her presentation with a slideshow presentation detailing her and her students’ findings at the Amache site. Dr. Clark and her team discovered many broken toy pieces, other objects, and even a former baseball field through excavating the site and talking with survivors from the Amache camp. Many of the students that Dr. Clark has worked with have not only been able to talk with the survivors about their experience, but even some students are descendants of former incarcerated people and specifically worked in the area that their family members were recorded to have slept. Through the discoveries that were made, Dr. Clark and her team found that those at the Amache sites built bath houses and mochi-making bowls, called usus from concrete as opposed to wood - important aspects of Japanese tradition that were maintained, even within the Japanese American incarceration camp.

After her presentation, Dr. Vartan and Dr. Clark briefly spoke about several aspects of the camp that Dr. Clark spoke about as well as Dr. Clark’s upcoming book, Finding Solace in the Soil: An Archaeology of Gardens and Gardeners at Amache, due for release in December later this year and information about the Amache Museum in Grenada, Colorado.

- By Emily Sexton


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