Gennifer Weisenfeld: "Gas Mask Nation"
Gennifer Weisenfeld and Paul Jaskot (Art, Art History & Visual Studies)
Please join Duke Professor Gennifer Weisenfeld for a discussion with Professor Paul Jaskot about her new book, Gas Mask Nation: Visualizing Civil Air Defense in Wartime Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2023, $60).
A fascinating look at the anxious pleasures of Japanese visual culture during World War II. Airplanes, gas masks, and bombs were common images in wartime Japan. Yet amid these emblems of anxiety, tasty caramels were offered to children with paper gas masks as promotional giveaways, and magazines featured everything from attractive models in the latest civil defense fashion to futuristic weapons. Gas Mask Nation explores the multilayered construction of an anxious yet perversely pleasurable visual culture of Japanese civil air defense-or bōkū-through a diverse range of artworks, photographs, films and newsreels, magazine illustrations, postcards, cartoons, advertising, fashion, everyday goods, government posters, and state propaganda. Gennifer Weisenfeld reveals the immersive aspects of this culture, in which Japan's imperial subjects were mobilized to regularly perform highly orchestrated civil air defense drills throughout the country.
Gennifer Weisenfeld is Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and Paul Jaskot is Chair and Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies.