Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Mathieu Deflem


This project is a comparative-historical sociological analysis of the informal and formal responses to sexual contact in two WWII period cases: between French women and Nazi troops, and German women and African-American GIs. I focus on the connection between the regulation of women's bodies and cultural expectations of gender, ideas about sexuality, and racial ideology. The results of war and subsequent occupation of the defeated nation - population decline and the acute loss of male life, strained material resources and the daily concern of survival, the social psychological sense of defeat, and intimate relationships between occupiers and the occupied - lead to sociocultural anxieties about national, cultural, and racial identity. These anxieties are visible in formal mechanisms of social control, purged through the informal social control of women's bodies, and specifically in the German case, reliant on an observable racialization process based on the distinction between Aryan and non-Aryan. Important to note is the focus on the body as both the source of anxiety and site of regulation. Such regulation of the female body enforces ideals of femininity, maternal duty, and national womanhood.

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