Reeducation Revisited: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on the Post-World War II Period in the USA, Japan, and Germany

Third party funded individual grant

Start date : 01.11.2018

End date : 01.11.2021

Extension date: 31.03.2023

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Scientific Abstract

This project examines US-American reeducation politics in its various aspects in Germany and Japan after World War II in a transnational and comparative perspective particularly taking into account cultural entanglements, mass media discourses, civil society and military agendas. It 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 foundational discourses 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 constructions of Japanese-Okinawan) and institutional histories (of the military and the social sciences in Japan and Germany); instead of looking primarily at sequestered national developments, the aim is to study transnational relations, intra-cultural differences and the construction of collective identities. Our focus is on the ways in which reeducation efforts unfold in specific contexts characterized by asymmetrical power relations. Ultimately, this project seeks to establish “comparative reeducation studies” as an interdisciplinary field of study.


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