In 20th-century America, military heroism became a key symbol of what was
regarded as a heterosexual, masculine white nation. Military heroism thus
became a major discursive battleground on which dominant notions of race,
gender, and national identity were negotiated, challenged, and revised. The
conference seeks to probe this complex interrelationship and how it changed
between 1914 and 2014, asking how military heroism helped to construct and
challenge racialized and gendered hierarchies in the United States. It seeks
to examine how praise for heroic behavior on the battlefield or the refusal
to give such praise became either a means of marginalization or a resource
that minorities could utilize to protest against their marginal status. This
process is closely linked to dominant notions of masculinity and femininity,
to scientific and popular understandings of race, and to politicized ideals
of heroism and American citizenship. It is this interrelationship that the
conference will focus on.

The conference program is available on the website of the University of
Frankfurt’s American Studies Department:

For additional information, please contact conference co-organizer Simon
Wendt at