Events | Workshop mit Heike Paul: Gender and Reeducation in Japan, Germany, and the USA after World War II

Berkeley | 20. Februar 2020 | 8:30 – 21. Februar 2020 | 19:00

This interdisciplinary project "Recreating Separate Spheres Across Not-So-Separate Worlds: Gender and Reeducation in Japan, Germany, and the USA after World War II" examines US-American reeducation politics in its various aspects in Germany and Japan after World War II in a transnational and comparative perspective. It takes into account entanglements in the cultural imaginary, the mass media, and civil society at large.

The project seeks to identify the multidirectional influences, ramifications, and interdependencies between the US and Japan, the US and Germany as well as Japan and Germany which work in each of those domestic as well as foreign settings as part of a foundational discourse of legitimation. For instance, the positive self-representation of the US as a democratic exemplum to Japanese and German audiences points to attempts to mitigate social tensions and conflicts ‘at home’. Individual projects address gender regimes (in reeducation and Hollywood films as well as in Japanese women’s magazines), discourses on race (in cultural representations of and by African American soldiers and in Japanese-Okinawan identity constructions), and public opinion (broadcasting and public opinion research in Japan and Germany); instead of looking primarily at national developments, the aim is to study transnational relations, intra-cultural differences, and subnational formations. The main focus is on the construction of imagined communities as well as the ways in which reeducation efforts unfold in specific contexts characterized by asymmetrical power relations. Ultimately, this project works towards establishing “comparative reeducation studies” as an interdisciplinary field of study.


Thursday, February 20

8.30 a.m. Opening & Welcome by the Organizers: Claudia Roesch (GHI), Jana Aresin and Heike Paul (FAU) 

9.00 – 10.15 a.m. Mire Koikari (University of Hawai’i): Re-visualizing Okinawa: Gender, Culture, and the Cold War in The Okinawa Graphic 

Coffee Break 

10.30 – 11.45 a.m. Jana Aresin (FAU): Consumers, Workers, Democratic Citizens? Renegotiation of Women’s Roles in US and Japanese Women’s Magazines, 1945-1960 

Coffee Break 

Noon – 1.15 p.m. Michiko Takeuchi (California State University): The International Women's Labor Movement and the US Occupation Liberation Policies on Japanese Women 

Lunch Break 

2.30 – 3.45 p.m. Tomoyuki Sasaki (William & Mary): An Army for the People: Democratization and Militarization in Postwar Japan 

Coffee Break 

4.00 – 5.15 p.m. Heike Paul (FAU): Women with(out) Men: Thoughts on the Construction of German Post-War Femininity 

5.15 – 6.00 p.m. Shop Talk and Info Session on Transatlantic Cooperation with Nikolai Blaumer (Thomas Mann House), Claudia Roesch (GHI), and Katharina Gerund (FAU) 


February 21, 2020 

10.00 – 11.15 a.m. Sonia Gomez (University of Chicago): “Goodwill Ambassadors”: Domesticity and Citizenship in the Post-World War II Making of Japanese War Brides 

Coffee Break 

11.30 a.m. Film Screening + Discussion with director Kathryn Tolbert 

Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight – The Japanese War Brides 

12.30 p.m. Brown Bag Meeting: US-Reeducation Films in Germany (Screening + comments by Heike Paul) 

2.00 p.m. Closing Remarks 

5.30 p.m. Conference Dinner at the GATHER


Heike Paul was born in Koblenz in 1968. From 1987 to 1994, she studied American Studies, Political Science, and English Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt and at the University of Washington, Seattle. After her master’s degree, she obtained her doctorate in the context of the research training group “Gender Difference and Literature” at LMU Munich and subsequently worked as a postdoc and assistant professor at Leipzig University, where she earned her postgraduate degree (Dr. phil. Habil.) in 2004. In the same year, she was appointed chair of American Studies at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg.  Her research in cultural studies focuses especially on forms and functions of the sentimental (Global Sentimentality Project) and on dimensions of tacit knowledge. Heike Paul is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and director of the Bavarian American Academy, in which she is deeply committed to transatlantic networking.


GHI West

UC Berkeley Campus, Moses Hall

The event is organized by GHI and FAU as Part of the DFG-Project “Reeducation Revisited: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on the Post-World War II Period in the US, Japan, and Germany.”