Event—Scholarly Seminars

Johann Bayer, University of Chicago and Jessie L. Kindig, Indiana University

PANEL: Gender and Violence in the US Military and Defense Complexes after 1945

Johann Bayer, University of Chicago and Jessie L. Kindig, Indiana University

Daughters of Athena: Feminists in the U.S. Defense Establishment, 1975-1981

Johann Bayer, University of Chicago

The creation of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) in 1973 radically changed the relationship of U.S. citizens with the state. Women volunteers were critical to the health of the new AVF, not only in the active military, but also in the civilian bureaucracy, the defense-oriented research establishment, and in positions of political leadership. This article seeks to show that women in defense were mobilized by the promise of second-wave American feminism to carve out a prominent role in the AVF. In the process, they contributed to a post-Vietnam liberal militarism that captured the nation's imagination after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Rest & Relaxation/Rape & Restitution: The U.S. Military’s Violent Embrace of East Asia, 1945–1953

Jessie L. Kindig

It was common Korean War-era slang for U.S. soldiers to refer to “R&R” leave in U.S.-occupied Japan not as “Rest & Relaxation” but “Rape & Restitution.” During their tours of duty in East Asia, American soldiers learned to expect Asian women’s sexual embrace as part of their mission, and U.S. military policies sought to regulate this sexual access, creating a violent and unequal climate of gendered power relations. This paper reconsiders U.S. power in East Asia as a violent embrace that came to shape historical narratives of U.S. empire and obscured wartime sexual violence.