Erik Ropers

Associate Professor and Director of Asian Studies


Contact Information

Wednesday, 2-5


Ph.D., The University of Melbourne, 2012

Areas of Expertise

Modern Japan (wartime Japan, forced labor), memory, cultural history, visual cultures, human rights

Erik Ropers joined the History Department in 2012 after completing a PhD in history at the University of Melbourne. His dissertation, “Mutable History: Japanese Language Historiographies of Korean Enforced Labor and Enforced Military Prostitution, 1965-2008” examines the ways in which Japanese scholars have understood and represented the enforced labor and enforced military prostitution of colonial Koreans during the height of the Asia-Pacific War. He is currently expanding this work into a book about postwar historical writing and research about the Korean minority in Japan. 

In addition to the above, Dr. Ropers' research broadly focuses on the social and cultural history of twentieth-century Japan. Some of his other recent projects have examined how Japanese wartime experiences have been visually and narratively represented in Japanese comics (manga), art, and literature, and how Japanese soldiers’ wartime experiences and traumas on the battlefield are represented in postwar film.


Written Into History: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Melbourne Historical Journal, 1961-2011 (co-edited with Keir Wotherspoon), Parkville: The Melbourne Historical Journal Collective, 2012.


"Debating History and Memory: Examining the Controversy Surrounding Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking," Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights 8, no. 1 (2017): 77-99.

“Shōgen, torauma, geijutsu: sensō to sengo no katari no shūgō-tekina bunseki.” In: Yoshii Hiroaki, ed., Sensō to mukiau shakaigaku, Meguro Akane, trans. (Tokyo: Akashi shoten, 2016).  (English title: “Testimony, Trauma, and Art: Collaborative Approaches to Narrating War and its Aftermath.”)

"Contested Spaces of Ethnicity: zainichi Korean Accounts of the Atomic Bombings," Critical Military Studies 1 (2015): 145-159.

“Representations of Gendered Violence in Manga: The Case of Enforced Military Prostitution,” Japanese Studies 31 (2011): 249-266. Revised and expanded version in Roman Rosenbaum, ed., Manga and the Representation of Japanese History (London: Routledge, 2012).

“Testimonies as Evidence in the History of kyōsei renkō,” Japanese Studies 30 (2010): 263-282.

Recent Lectures and Presentations

"Visualizing the Hanaoka Massacre in Print," Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
"The Emergence of zainichi Korean hibakusha Writings and Testimonies," Fourth Conference, Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory, Lund University, Sweden

Awards and Honors

Association for Asian Studies NEAC Japan Grant, Fall 2016

University of Western Australia USAsia Centre Grant, 2014

UCLA Terasaki Research Grant, 2012

National Library of Australia Japan Grant, 2009

Courses Taught
 Fall 2017 SPRING 2018
HIST 110 East Asian Civilization to the Nineteenth Century  HIST 111 East Asian Civilization From the Nineteenth Century 
HIST 205 Ethical Perspectives in History HIST 300 Introduction to Historical Study
HIST 300 Introduction to Historical Study HIST 440 The Samurai