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“I had lain on the beach many times, but never before with a white girl [...] No one stared as we lay on the beach together, our skins contrasting but our hearts beating identically and both with noses on the center of our faces.  Odd, it seemed to me, that here, in the land of hate, I should find this all-important phase of democracy.  And suddenly I felt bitter.“

William Gardner Smith about the experience of black GIs in Germany, from The Last of the Conquerors (1948)

 




NEWS:

New Documentary:
"Ein Hauch von Freiheit" (Breath of Freedom)
December 16, 10:05pm CET on Arte
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Documentary:
"Breath of Freedom: Black Soldiers and the Battle for Civil Rights" (narrated by Cuba Gooding, Jr.)
Premiers February 17, 8pm ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
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Article:
"Freed's enduring photos of march part of exhibit"
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Article by
Sophie Lorenz:
„Heldin des anderen Amerikas“
Die DDR-Solidaritätsbewegung
für Angela Davis, 1970–1973.
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New Film:
"The West Point -
Vassar College Initiative"
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A Breath of Freedom
By Maria Höhn &
Martin Klimke
Palgrave Macmillan October 2010
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Cover_Over_ThereOver There: Living with the U.S. Military Empire from World War Two to the Present

Edited by Maria Höhn and Seungsook Moon

Over There covers very important issues, which have received relatively little attention outside activist circles: questions of prostitution and trafficking around U.S. military bases and more general questions of masculinity and gender in the contemporary U.S. military as they impact its operations overseas. Innovatively juxtaposing essays on topics such as gender and sexuality at Abu-Ghraib, and the trafficking of Filipina women around U.S. bases in South Korea, Over There yields fresh insights into how the contemporary U.S. empire operates.

- Catherine Lutz, author of Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century

 

Over There is a splendid book. Maria Höhn and Seungsook Moon are themselves experienced investigators into the multi-layerings of US military influence in Germany and South Korea. Here they’ve combined their gender-smart research with that of insightful contributors to offer us fresh understandings of how German, Japanese and Korean women and men see the American bases in their midst and cope with US policies designed to make them complicit. I have learned a lot from Over There.

- Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

 

Over There explores the social impact of America’s global network of more than 700 military bases. It does so by examining interactions between U.S. soldiers and members of host communities in the three locations—South Korea, Japan/Okinawa, and West Germany—where more than two thirds of American overseas military bases and troops were concentrated for the past six decades. The essays in this collection highlight the role of cultural and racial assumptions in the maintenance of the American military base system, and the ways that civil-military relations play out locally.

Describing how political, spatial, and social arrangements shape relations between American garrisons and surrounding communities, they emphasize factors including whether military bases are located in democratic nations or in authoritarian countries where cooperation with dictatorial regimes fuels resentment, whether bases are integrated into neighboring communities or isolated and surrounded by “camp towns” wholly dependent on their business, and whether the United States sends single soldiers without families on one-year tours of duty or soldiers who bring their families and serve longer tours.

Delving into the implications of these and other questions, the contributors address U.S. military-regulated relations between GIs and local women; the roles of American women, including military wives, abroad; local resistance to the U.S. military presence; and racial strife, sexism, and homophobia within the U.S. military. Over There is an essential analysis of the American military as a global and transnational phenomenon.

Contributors: Donna Alvah, Chris Ames, Jeff Bennett, Maria Höhn, Seungsook Moon, Christopher Nelson, Robin Riley, Michiko Takeuchi

Cloth: $99.95 / Paperback: $29.95 / 472 pages / 31 photographs, 6 tables, 4 maps
Duke Unversity Press (December 2010) / # 978-0-8223-4818-4 / # 978-0-8223-4827-6
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> Buy the book
> View as PDF

 

Maria Höhn is Professor of German History at Vassar College. She is the author of GIs and Fräuleins: German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany (UCN Press, 2002) as well as the co-author (together with Martin Klimke) of A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2010).

Seungsook Moon is Professor of Sociology at Vassar College. She is the author of Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea, also published by Duke University Press.

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