Scapegoat Cities

When UNC Law Professor Eric Muller was developing his most recent scholarly effort this summer, he didn’t have to travel far to do his work. He just headed down to his basement.

There, using a microphone and some audio editing software, Muller produced eight episodes of ‘Scapegoat Cities,’ a podcast based on his two decades of research into the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“I realized that after 20 years of digging through archives, I, myself, had a whole raft of stories that I’ve discovered from dusty pages of archive boxes, that are deeply moving and very revealing about the nature of the experiences that Japanese Americans endured during this time period,” Muller said.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government detained nearly 125,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps in California, Oregon and other western states from 1942-1945. With the 75thanniversary of the internment process approaching, Muller saw an opportunity to combine and showcase his research in an easily-consumed way.

“I wrote a couple of episodes, started to teach myself sound editing and recording, and just kind of got swept away by the project, and before I knew it, I had eight full episodes, written and recorded,” Muller said.

Many of the stories Muller wrote and narrated for ‘Scapegoat Cities’ haven’t been part of the public record – until now. “I have archival research that is the foundation of every episode, so every episode is telling a true story, something that actually happened to real people.”

‘Scapegoat Cities’ is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and many other podcast sites, and is free to download. In addition to paying tribute to the Japanese Americans who were forced to live in the internment camps, Muller wants the podcast to accomplish a lasting effect with audiences.

“I’m hoping that they’ll maybe take a few minutes to pause and reflect on what that history from 75 years ago tells us about the world we’re living in today,” Muller said.

To learn more about  ‘Scapegoat Cities’ and listen to episodes, please visit the podcast’s website, ScapegoatCities.org.

Story and video by Rob Holliday, University Communications

Published September 8, 2017