Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pg. 99: Christina Schwenkel's "The American War in Contemporary Vietnam"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The American War in Contemporary Vietnam: Transnational Remembrance and Representation by Christina Schwenkel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Transnational politics of war and remembrance

"A significant achievement, and one that does much to demonstrate the complexity of sites of war memory.... [Offers insights] that have an eerie resonance for today's political debates over the purpose and legitimacy of U.S. actions in the Middle East."—Geoffrey White, University of Hawaii

"The study of memory has been a common pursuit of historians of war and its aftermath, but Christina Schwenkel’s insightful and brilliantly written ethnography of the visual, political and semiotic processes that shape memory in Vietnam offers a new and transnational dimension to the field. Going far beyond the simple dichotomy of looking at 'both sides' of the war, her study of the commemorative concerns of both Americans and Vietnamese reveals the deep ambivalence over their 'shared history' and offers a profound window onto the present contemporary Vietnamese reality."
—Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Christina Schwenkel's absorbing study explores how the "American War" is remembered and commemorated in Vietnam today—in official and unofficial histories and in everyday life. Schwenkel analyzes visual representations found in monuments and martyrs' cemeteries, museums, photography and art exhibits, battlefield tours, and related sites of "trauma tourism." In these transnational spaces, American and Vietnamese memories of the war intersect in ways profoundly shaped by global economic liberalization and the return of American citizens as tourists, pilgrims, and philanthropists.
Read more about the book at the publisher's website and visit Christina Schwenkel's faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: The American War in Contemporary Vietnam.

--Marshal Zeringue