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SBTHP Presents City Girls Lecture by Valerie J. Matsumoto

September 6, 2016

(Santa Barbara, CA) – The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) and UCSB History Associates are pleased to present City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, a lecture by Valerie J. Matsumoto, Ph.D. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Alhecama Theatre (914 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara). 


Even before wartime incarceration, Japanese Americans largely lived in separate cultural communities from their West Coast neighbors. Although the Nisei children, the American-born second generation, were U.S. citizens and were integrated in public schools, they were socially isolated in many ways from their peers. These young women found rapport in ethnocultural youth organizations, a forgotten world of female friendship and camaraderie that Valerie J. Matsumoto recovers in this book.


During the 1920s and 1930s, Nisei girls' organizations flourished in Los Angeles, then home to the largest Japanese American population. As cultural mediators and ethnic representatives, these urban teenagers bridged the cultures of the Japanese American community and mainstream society, whether introducing new foods, holidays, and rituals into the home or dancing in kimono at civic events.


Come hear Valerie J. Matsumoto, Ph.D., author of City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, highlight the ways in which urban Nisei daughters claimed modern femininity, an American identity, and public space from the Jazz Age through the postwar era. A book signing and reception will immediately follow the lecture.


During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries the area in and around the Santa Barbara Presidio included communities of Chinese and Japanese, residing in what was a unique and culturally rich neighborhood. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation supports programs that explore themes common to the experience of these communities in the effort to connect a modern audience with the history of the Asian American experience in Santa Barbara.


Valerie J. Matsumoto, Ph.D. is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 and a co-editor of Over the Edge: Remapping the American West.

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