Valerie H. Barske

Title: Professor
and International Studies Coordinator
Office: CCC 453


Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
M.A., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
B.A. Oglethorpe University


East Asia, Modern Japan, Cultural History of Okinawa, Women and Gender Studies, Social History of Empire, Theories of the Body and Embodiment.


HIST 102 - World History since 1500
HIST 216 - East Asia to 1600
HIST 217 - East Asia since 1600
HIST 315 - U.S. Occupation in Asia
HIST 316 - History of China
HIST 317 - History of Japan
HIST 323 - Topics in East Asia: Women in Japan
HIST 489 - Historiography of Women in East Asia
WGS 490 - Seminar: Women's Activism in East Asia
PAX 320 - Seminar: Women's Activism in East Asia


"Performing Embodied Histories: Colonialism, Gender, and Okinawa in Modern Japan"

Select Publications

  • "Visualizing Priestesses or Performing Prostitutes?: Ifa Fuyu's Depictions of Okinawan Women (1913-1943)," in Studies on Asia: Interdisciplinary Journal of Asian Studies Series IV Vol. 3:1 (March 2013): 65-108.
  • "Women and Japan's Political Economy," in Laura Hein ed. Japan Focus Course Packets for The Asia-Pacific Journal (November 2012).
  • "Book Review of Writing Okinawa: Narrative Acts of Resistance and Identity," in The Journal of Asian Studies 70:2 (May 2011).
  • “’Dancing Through’ Historical Trauma: Okinawan Performance in Post-Imperial Japan,” in Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific Issue 24: Special Issue on Trauma (April 2010).
  • "Performance in East Asia and Oceania," in Gary Xu ed. Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Popular Cultures Vol. 6, East Asia and Pacific Oceania. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. Series Awarded the 2008 Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Reference/Primary Sources Collection.
  • "Nuchibana: Okinawans Performing Peace as Historical Protest," in Journal for the Anthropological Study of Human Movement 12:3.
  • "Okinawa Omnibus: A Film Review," in Asian Educational Media Service News and Reviews 4:2

Works in Progress

  • Book Manuscript: Making Waves, Moving Empires: Embodying Trauma, Activism, and Colonialism in Postwar Okinawa

Recent Presentations

  • "Dancing Sexual Power and Performing Colonial Positions in Okinawa's Pleasure Quarters," Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting
  • "Visualizing Priestesses or Performing Prostitutes?: Iha Fuyu's Depictions of Okinawan Women (1919-1932)," Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Western Michigan University, September 22, 2012.
  • “Everyday Empire: Prostitutes, Teachers, and Reform Women in Colonial Okinawa,” Panel Session: Towards a Social History of Empire: Negotiating Norms in Imperial Japan, Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, March 2010.
  • “Memory, Trauma, and Activism: Protest Artwork by Korean Survivors of Sexual Violence,” Roundtable Session: Bringing East Asian History and Culture to Life, Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, Miami University, October 2009.
  • “The Floating World: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Collection of the Chazen Museum of Art,” Guest Co-Curator with Cortney Chaffin, Edna Carlesten Gallery, UWSP, October 26-November 25, 2009
  • “Dancing Historical Trauma in Okinawa: Kodama Kiyoko’s Performative Acts of Healing,” Interrogating Trauma: Arts and Media Responses to Collective Suffering, International Conference with Curtin and Murdoch University, Perth Australia (Presented in Absentia), December 2008.
  • “’We’re All Shimanchu (Island People)’: Gender Fluidity and Alternative Identities in Contemporary Okinawan Activism,” (Organizer) Panel Session: Reconfiguring Gender, Negotiating Neoliberalism in Global Japan, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2008.
  • “Ethnicized Difference, Nationalized Bodies: Women and Intersectional Identities in Postwar Japan,” (Organizer) Panel Session: Forging Junctions, Forcing Ruptures: Women and Intersectional Identities in Japan, University of Wisconsin System Annual Women’s Studies Conference, Madison, April 2008.

Honors and Awards


Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW System Fellow

Wisconsin Teaching and Scholars Fellow, UW System
2012 University Excellence in Teaching Award
2012 Council for Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill, Faculty Mentor
2011 L&S Enhancement Grant "Re-Writing the Art of China"
2009 College of Letters and Science Enhancement Grant, Support for “Japan—The Floating World”
2006-07 Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2005-06 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship to Japan

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association (AHA)
  • Association for Asian Studies (AAS)
  • American Anthropological Association (AAA)
  • Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs (MCAA)
  • Midwest Japan Seminar (Link)

<< Back to faculty page