Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

La Vinia Delois Jennings

Committee Members

Chuck Maland, Ben Lee, Kurt Piehler

Abstract

“Beyond the Battlefield: Direct and Prosthetic Memory of the American War in Viet Nam” examines shifts in American, Viet Namese, and Philippine memorial, literary, and cinematic remembrance of the war through the cultural lenses of later wars: the Gulf War (1990-1991) and the “War on Terror” that began in 2001. As opposed to earlier portrayals of the American War in Viet Nam (1964-1975), turn-to-the-twenty-first-century representations engage in an ever-broadening collected cultural memory—a compilation of multifaceted, sometimes competing, individual and group memories—of the war. “Beyond the Battlefield” begins with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982) because it serves as the impetus for active participation in the reception and creation of memory. It traces a multifaceted collected cultural memory pattern through the stages of recognition for servicewomen, American women, Viet Namese Women, and reconciliation between soldiers and civilians as well as between Americans and the Viet Namese—veterans and civilians alike. Ultimately, a collected cultural memory of the war encourages prosthetic memory—memories of the war acquired via mediated representation by those with no direct experience in or hereditary connection to the war. Prosthetic memory permits an ongoing memory of the war that refuses to relegate the war to the forgotten past.

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