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KNOXVILLE — A program on Japanese internment during World War II will be held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Jan. 15 and 16. The program will focus on the history and constitutional issues of the Hirabayashi v. U.S. Supreme Court case.

Gordon Hirabayashi was one of three Japanese-Americans who resisted the government order to relocate to an internment camp in 1942. He was convicted by the Federal District Court of Seattle. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction and the internment order.

“The Hirabayashi case is increasingly relevant today because of the War on Terror,” said Jeffrey Kovac, UT professor of chemistry. “Legal scholars and practicing lawyers will discuss both the original case and its relevance to current issues, such as the detention of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo and criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists in the United States.”

The program is a Ready for the World event, and is sponsored by a broad coalition of university and community partners. It has been certified for six hours continuing legal education credit for attorneys and for unscheduled in-service training for high school teachers.

The Jan. 15 events, to be held at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, begin at 1 p.m. The lecture schedule is:

– 1:15 p.m. — Jeffrey Kovac, UT professor of chemistry, will present “Confrontation at the Locks: Conscientious Objectors Protest the Japanese Removal and Incarceration.” Kovac is currently writing a book on the history of World War II conscientious objectors with the working title “Columbians and Mountaineers: A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks.”

– 2:15 p.m. — Eric L. Muller, a Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina, will present “Japanese American Draft Resisters.” He is the author of “Confrontation at the Locks: A Protest of the Japanese Removal and Incarceration” and “American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese-American Disloyalty in World War II.”

– 3:30 p.m. — Michael Bess, a Chancellor’s Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and author of “Choices under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II,” will present “Staying True to Our Values in a National Security Crisis: Lessons of the World War II Internment of Japanese-Americans.”

The Jan. 16 events, also at the Baker Center, begin at 1 p.m. The lecture schedule is:

– 1:15 p.m. — Muller will present “Invasion Prevarication: Telling Lies to the Supreme Court in Hirabayashi v. United States.”

– 2:15 p.m. — Vijay Padmanabhan, visiting assistant professor from the Cardozo School of Law, will present “U.S. Detention Policy in Response to the 9/11 Attacks: Past, Present and Future.”

– 2:45 p.m. — Attorney Kristen L. Winemiller of Portland, Ore., will present “Wartime Changes in Domestic Law.”

– 3:30 p.m. — A speakers’ panel discussion moderated by attorney John L. Winemiller.

The program also will include readings of the play “Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi,” starring Ryun Yu, who originated the role in Los Angeles. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and 16 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian-Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike. Tickets will be sold at the door, and will be $15 for adults and $10 for students. UT faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with a valid university ID.

Conference parking will be available at the University Center garage for $5 per day. The UC garage is about 2.5 blocks east of the Baker Center building on Cumberland Avenue and Philip Fulmer Way.

For more information about the events, see http://www.artsci.utk.edu/symposium/ and


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu