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Dr. Annika A. Culver

Associate Professor and Faculty Fellow, Asia-Pacific War, Florida State University

Dr. Annika A. CulverProfessor Annika A. Culver is tenured Associate Professor of East Asian History at Florida State University, where she specializes in Japan-related topics, and is working on projects associated with globalizing the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience as a Faculty Fellow (Asia-Pacific War). She studied at the University of Chicago, where she received her doctorate, and also holds an MA in Regional Studies East Asia from Harvard University, and a history degree from Vassar College.

Dr. Culver also serves as a scholar in Cohort II of the US-Japan Network for the Future, and has taught at the University of Chicago, Beijing University, Skidmore College, and the University of North Carolina.  Her research interests include Manchuria/Manchukuo, Japanese cultural imperialism, wartime politics and the arts in East Asia, propaganda/advertising, gender and consumption, Sino-Japanese relations, and US-Japan relations.  In association with the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience, Dr. Culver is leading the digitization and archivization of the Oliver L. Austin Photographic Collection, which features scenes from Tokyo under the US Occupation from the viewpoint of a Harvard-trained ornithologist working for SCAP who was close to the imperial family.  She recently won the William F. Sibley Memorial Translation Prize, and has received grants and fellowships from USIIE (Fulbright), Japan Foundation (Book Subvention), Kajima Foundation (Book Subvention), Association for Asian Studies (China and Inner Asia Council), and the Institute for Advanced Study (Visitor Affiliation). 

Her recent book, Glorify the Empire: Japanese Avant-Garde Propaganda in Manchukuo (Vancouver:  University of British Columbia Press, 2013; Seattle:  University of Washington Press, 2014), explores how once anti-imperialist Japanese intellectuals produced modernist works celebrating the modernity of a fascist state--reflecting a complicated picture of complicity with, and ambivalence towards, Japan’s utopian project. Recent publications include the following:  “Japanese Mothers and Rural Settlement in Wartime Manchukuo:  Gendered Reflections of Labor and Productivity in Manshû gurafu [Manchuria Graph], 1936-1943," in Dana Cooper and Claire Phelan, eds., Motherhood and War  (New York:  Palgrave MacMillan, July 2014); and "Shiseidô's Empire of Beauty:  Marketing Japanese Imperial Modernity in Northeast Asia. 1931-1941."  Shashi--The Journal of Japanese Business and Company History.  Vol. 2, No. 2, Issue 2, Autumn 2013.  Current projects feature a monograph on the advertising of western consumer products produced by Japanese companies from the 1880s-1938, and a book on Dr. Austin's work in postwar Korea and Occupied Japan.

For more information, please visit Dr. Culver's FSU faculty page

Dr. G. Kurt Piehler

Dr. PiehlerDirector, Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University

G. Kurt Piehler is Director of the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience and Associate Professor of History at Florida State University in August 2011. Prior to becoming Institute Director in 2011, he held academic positions at the City University of New York, Drew University, Rutgers University, and the University of Tennessee. In 2008, he served as Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at Kobe University and Kyoto University. As founding director (1994–1998) of the Rutgers Oral History Archives, he conducted more than 200 interviews with veterans of World War II. Many of these interviews can be found on the Internet at oralhistory.rutgers.edu. His televised lecture, “The War That Transformed a Generation,” which drew on the Rutgers Oral History Archives, appeared on the History Channel in 1997.

Piehler is the author of Remembering War the American Way (1995,) and World War II (2007). He is editor of The United States in World War II: A Documentary Reader (2013), Encyclopedia of Military Science (2014) and also co-edited The United States and the Second World War: New Perspectives on Diplomacy, War, and the Home Front (2010); The Atomic Bomb and American Society: New Perspectives (2009); and Major Problems in American Military History (1999). He served as associate editor of Americans at War: Society, Culture, and the Home Front (2005) and consulting editor of Oxford Companion to American Military History (1999). Piehler edits two book series: World War II: The Global, Human, Ethical Dimension (Fordham University Press) and Legacies of War (University of Tennessee Press).

Currently, Piehler is working on a book examining the religious experiences of American servicemen and servicewomen in World War II. For this project, he has received research grants from the American Jewish Archives, Mary Baker Eddy Library, Bentley Library at the University of Michigan, Presbyterian Historical Society, Rockefeller Archive Center, and the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. His article, “World War II and America’s Religious Communities” appeared in The Cambridge History of Religions in America in 2012.

Born in Nyack, New York, Piehler attended public schools in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood of Queens, New York City, and later Mount Arlington and Roxbury, New Jersey. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Drew University, he holds a master’s degree and doctorate in history from Rutgers University. He resides with his family in Tallahassee, Florida.

For more information, please see Dr. Piehler's FSU faculty page   

Kyle Bracken

Graduate Assistant

Kyle Bracken is a doctoral student of American History at Florida State University and a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. His research explores the environmental history of the U.S. Army campaigns for New Guinea during World War II. In 2013, Kyle helped digitize Oliver Austin’s extensive photographic collection for use in this website. Additionally, Kyle presented work on Dr. Austin and Japan’s wildlife policies at the 2015 Society for Military History Annual Meeting. In Spring 2016, Kyle Bracken served as a Grants in Engaged Learning (GEL) mentor for the ASH 3382 US-East Asia course at FSU, where he helped students research captions for images related to the Occupation.

Hillary Sebeny

Graduate Assistant

Hillary Sebeny is a doctoral student in American History at Florida State University. Her dissertation concerns Rear Admiral Richard Byrd and American exploration of the Antarctic in the first half of the twentieth century. Hillary also helped digitize the Oliver Austin Deep Freeze photographs, in addition to designing the first edition of the Austin website in 2014. The Austin photographs of Antarctica will play a prominent role in her doctoral research. In Spring 2016, Hillary Sebeny served as a GEL mentor for ASH 3382 students, who she helped research captions for images related to the Antarctic Deep Freeze Expedition.

Natalie Jones

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Assistant

Natalie Jones is an undergraduate student at Florida State University majoring in Exercise Science and Art History. She has studied Chinese and is in the process of learning Japanese. She has created four documentaries for the National History Day Competition, one of which placed seventh in the nation. Her latest project concerned Japanese internment following World War II. She is a Presidential Scholar at FSU, a National Merit Scholar, a Garnet and Gold Scholar, and has completed the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Additionally, she created a documentary on the Austin Collection including faculty interviews conducted with Christopher Westfall.

Christopher Westfall

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Assistant

Christopher Westfall is an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University concentrating in Political Science and Spanish. He graduated from Taipei American School with the International Baccalaureate diploma.

Japanese Researchers

Location Sleuths

A team of Japanese enthusiasts took the initiative to freely volunteer their own time to begin a mapping project of the locations of the images in the Oliver L. Austin Collection, which range from the Tokyo area to Hokkaido. Researchers include Mr. Yoneno Masayuki, an architect; Professor Sato Yoichi, a historian of urban development; Mr. Komoto Takao, a building maintenance engineer; and other members of their Facebook group. Their project can be seen atTokyo Mapped.

Anne Marsh

Administrative Support Specialist

Sharon Austin

Web Design Assistant

Sharon Austin wrote HTML, CSS and PHP to assist with the look and feel of The Oliver L. Austin Photographic Collection website; additionally, she is one of the granddaughters of Oliver L. Austin. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently works primarily as a user experience designer.