Interdisciplinary Research Project: Reeducation Revisited: Transnationale und kulturvergleichende Perspektiven auf die Nachkriegszeit in den USA, Japan und Deutschland (funded by the German Research Foundation, 2018-2021)

Prof. Dr. Heike Paul & Dr. Katharina Gerund

(with Prof. Dr. Fabian Schäfer/Japanese Studies)

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.

Recent Activities: Conference in cooperation with the German Historical Institute at the German-American Institute Nuernberg, 29-30 September 2017. For more information, please see:


Research Training Group “Presence and Tacit Knowledge” (funded by the German Research Foundation, 2012-2018)

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Heike Paul

The research training group investigates culturally divergent forms and functions of presence and tacit knowledge, integrating cultural studies approaches to presence with social sciences approaches to tacit knowledge. The two concepts can only be properly understood from a perspective that acknowledges that they are intrinsically linked, if not mutually dependent: tacit knowledge becomes most tangible in experiences of presence, while such experiences, in turn, tend to result in a surplus (or sedimentation) of tacit knowledge. Most importantly, both concepts and the phenomena they describe are understood to be culturally specific and are addressed with regard to intracultural distinction and (inter)cultural difference, at times in a comparative framework. Aspects of affect, power relations, and historicity play a large role in the research program.

Dissertation projects:

Carmen Brosig: Kulturnationalismus und Konstruktionen transnationaler Solidarität: Protestkultur(en) ethnischer Minderheiten während des Vietnamkriegs zwischen implizitem Wissen und Präsenz (Working Title).

Stephen Koetzing: Am Ende: Alter(n) und hegemoniale Maskulinität im zeitgenössischen US-amerikanischen Roman (Working Title).

Monika Sauter: He Was With Me in a Way I’d Never Felt Before: Konstruktionen von Weiblichkeit in zeitgenössischer evangelikaler Populärkultur der USA. Published as Devoted! Frauen in der evangelikalen Populärkultur der USA. Bielefeld: transcript, 2017.

Florian Tatschner: The Other Presences: Reading Literature Other-wise after the Transnational Turn in American Studies.

For more information, please see: