Zumkehr Research

The funds provided by Charles E. Zumkehr in support of this professorship make possible a number of research projects. As those projects unfold, and move through the peer review process, they will be featured below.



     Bisbee '17--a project exploring how a documentary film chronicles a town's belated acknowledgement, through a centennial re-enactment, of the deportation of over 1,000 immigrant miners in 1917. Published in 2021: Making the Past Present: Bisbee ’17 and Mediated Haunting. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 38, 375-390.


Peace and Justice Memorial

     The National Memorial for Peace and Justice--a project focused on the Equal Justice Initiative's memorial to the more 4,000 African Americans lynched between 1877 and 1950. In press at Rhetoric & Public Affairs


Backlighting History

     Backlighting History--inspired by James W. Loewen's book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, this project systematically analyzes the ways in which primary education history textbooks address shameful elements of U.S. history, such as slavery, Native American genocide, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Published in 2022 with James P. Kelly: Perpetuating the Past: U.S. High School History Textbooks and Systemic Racism. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 50, 236-252.


Eagle Cafe

     Eagle Cafe--an oral history of patrons and employees of the Eagle Cafe, a popular restaurant run by Japanese American families in my hometown of Scottsbluff, NE. The cafe closed in 1967, but those who spent time there remember it as a place where the owners and staff modeled lifelong practices of communicating with others. Notably, the Eagle Cafe was long-listed as an entry in Victor Green's The Green BookPublished in 2022: Memory Anchors on the Great Plains: The Case of the Eagle Café. Great Plains Quarterly, 42, 305-323.

     Remembering Japanese American Internment—exploring the extensive online collections hosted by the Japanese American National Museum, this work involved three projects: (1) an analysis of “home” in letters written by interned children (Published in 2021 with Alexis J. Karolin: Identifying Home: A Narrative of Japanese American Internment. Communication Quarterly, 69, 192-213); (2) an examination of power in the internment camp photographs taken by Jack Iwata (Published in 2022 with Alexis J. Karolin: Returning the Gaze: A Visual Analysis of Jack Iwata’s Photography in Japanese American Internment Camps. Visual Communication Quarterly, 29, 165-177.); (3) an exploration of fractured identities in the diary of Stanley Hayami (Published in 2023 with Anna Wilhelm: Identity Disruption and the Observing-Narrating Self in Stanley Hayami’s Internment Diary, Atlantic Journal of Communication, 31, 152-167).

     Things Remembered—investigating how keepsakes work as memory devices that ground individual identity in time and place. Published online in 2023: Memory Bridges: Narrative Memories in Saved Objects, Western Journal of Communication.