They Called Us Enemy: Artificial Intelligence and Academic Community

September 27, noon to 2 p.m.

This event will be a required session for all new first-year students (students will not have to attend 101w that week). The event will be located at the Armory on the Albany campus. There will be lunch for all plus a panel and discussion of the book.

Stay tuned for upcoming details! And see the full Founder’s Week schedule of events here.

About They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy is a graphic memoir by George Takei, an author, activist, and actor best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek. Created in partnership with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker, the book is a firsthand account of Takei’s childhood, years of which were spent in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. 

The memoir depicts his life “behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.”

Chompers Mascot reading They Called Us Enemy by George Takei in the Shea Learning Center Library

Check out They Called Us Enemy Online

Borrow a digital copy using the Libby app. You will need to log in with your Sage username and password.

A Message from Dean Andrea Rehn

On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students at Russell Sage, I want to welcome you! This summer, it is time to join the Sage community by reading the Dean’s Summer Read. The Dean’s Summer Read is a book I send to all incoming students, and share with all the faculty and staff you will meet here. When you arrive at Sage, you will all have this book in common. There will be events and assignments related to this book, so be sure to read it carefully and bring it with you.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei with George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker, is this year’s Dean’s Summer Read. They Called Us Enemy is a graphic memoir, a book that tells the life story of its author through a combination of images and words. Takei is a Japanese-American actor, writer, and activist, first famous for his role on the original cast of Star Trek. You can also find him on social media, where he is very active. His memoir tells the story of growing up in the United States during World War II, when the US was at war with Japan and other nations. As you read, pay attention to how the placement of the images on the page dramatizes the words and often foregrounds the emotions of the characters. Think, too, about your own life experiences. Which events in your childhood have shaped your continuing interests and goals for your life? Which stories of your life do you want to share with your professors and new friends at college, as you meet and get to know each other? 

Justin Eisinger, George Takei, Harmony Becker and Steven Scott standing in formal wear.
Left to right: Justin Eisinger, George Takei, Harmony Becker, and Steven Scott. Justin Eisinger, George Takei, and Steven Scott are cowriters of “They Called Us Enemy.” Harmony Becker is the illustrator.

Takei’s book is important for many reasons. He tells a crucial story of United States history and helps readers understand how those events affected many people, then and now. His family’s story is one of trauma but also persistence and resilience, as they found ways to stay together and help each other, and eventually to help the rest of the country recognize the profound injustice they suffered. This is a story of both how democracy sometimes fails, and how citizens can speak up for the truth and for each other. Courage, love, justice, democracy, truth – all these themes are present, as well as bullying, racism, and fear. The form of the book, a graphic memoir, might remind you of Art Spiegelman’s great graphic novel of the Holocaust, Maus, which I encourage you to read as well. 

We all have many stories: stories from our lives, stories we cherish, stories about our families and friends and world, stories that help us understand each other and ourselves. Because of the centrality of stories to our identities, communities, and future plans, storytelling is a key theme of your first courses at Sage. 


Andrea Rehn, Ph.D.

George Takei

“It was those after-dinner talks with my father that informed so much of my worldview … Together we can initiate change in Los Angeles … and instilled in me a desire to share our story with as many people as possible.”

George Takei, from “They Called Us Enemy”

The Importance of Storytelling …

“Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one. “

John Berger, from “G.”

“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Chimamanda Adichie, from “The Danger of the Single Story”