Did you know that the Studebaker Museum has a vehicle in their collection that was used in the Vietnam War and then brought back to the states? Come learn more about the local automobile industry’s involvement in foreign wars (and get a good taste of the local brewing industry’s product) at this month’s History on Tap — 6pm on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at South Bend Brew Werks.
Part of the Big Read St. Joe project is to share the history, the art, and the memories of soldiers with the community. We have put together an exhibit at the Schurz Library on the campus of IU South Bend, But a community is more than a physical space, and this exhibit is now visible virtually everywhere. See the artifacts at this online exhibit site: http://bigreadstjoe.omeka.net/. And let us know what you think.
The IU South Bend student paper, The Preface, has a nice review of the exhibit currently on display at the Schurz Library lobby. Read it here. The exhibit is also mentioned in the South Bend Tribune. See it soon for yourself.
[excerpted from Inside IU]
Indiana University professor emeritus Ron Osgood was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1968, but his time in the Navy didn’t fully shape his understanding of the war.
That came some four decades later, when Osgood began production on his 2010 PBS documentary “My Vietnam, Your Iraq.” This year, he released his follow-up documentary, “Just Like Me: The Vietnam War — Stories From All Sides.”
“The war for me was somewhat abstract. It wasn’t political,” he said. “I was just more interested in getting out of the Navy and learning a skill, the craft I was learning in my job, which was TV production.”
Osgood sought to share multiple perspectives of the war through “Just Like Me” after interviewing an American soldier for “My Vietnam, Your Iraq” who realized the parallels between his own life and that of a Vietnamese soldier who was killed.
Stream Osgood’s documentary “Just Like Me: The Vietnam War – Stories From All Sides” for free on WTIU’s website through Oct. 14. The documentary will air at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 on WTIU.
In this excerpt from a conversation, Gina M. Pérez, author of Citizen, Student, Soldier: Latina/o Youth, JROTC and the American Dream, and Zoë H. Wool, author of After War: Weight of Life at Walter Reed, discuss the moral, political, and personal stakes of US militarism.
And this is one of the most challenging things about doing this kind of research. Throughout the process, I have thought a lot about how many anthropologists, including Catherine Lutz, Hugh Gusterson, and Roberto Gonzalez, have both called on anthropologists to engage with questions of militarism, but have also warned about the distinctions between an anthropology of the US military and an anthropology for the US military. As anthropologists, we are constantly confronted with the real lives and people we work with while simultaneously using our ethnographic practice to critique militarism and military power. As I was doing my research, I developed an incredible amount of respect for the young people I worked with, as well as the JROTC instructors, and developed a deep appreciation for how savvy they are and the incredible amount of work they are doing intellectually, emotionally, politically, and socially in navigating all these institutions, their schools, JROTC, their churches. And these young people are pragmatic because they recognize that things are pretty much stacked against them at every level. Talking to students made me realize how important ethnographic engagement is because, in the end, it is much more complicated and much messier than people might like us to believe.
Read the whole thing here: http://www.americananthropologist.org/2017/09/19/ethnography-and-the-militarization-of-the-american-dream-a-conversation-between-zoe-h-wool-and-gina-m-perez/.
David James will share his story, “The Day I Refused Induction” at our next History on Tap! event. He will, no doubt, also play one or two Vietnam-era protest songs. Join us on Wednesday, October 11 at 6pm in the newly family friendly South Bend Brew Werks. Beer, music, and the risk of arrest (50 years ago)? It’ll be a party.
Currently, the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary about the Vietnam War is airing on PBS, and many different media outlets have discussed the documentary itself, as well as the impact and legacy of the Vietnam War itself. Here is just a small selection of press reaction.
Mark Feeney from the Boston Globe opines on how the documentary strives to have every voice and opinion about the war heard. With this objectivity however, the filmmakers “leave one unavoidable lesson for viewers to draw. It’s the most horrifying thing in a story full of horrors: how administration after administration kept getting deeper and deeper into Vietnam despite suspecting it was a mistake or knowing it outright. Inertia, and politics, were in the saddle, and hundreds of thousands died as a consequence.”
The New York Times notes how the documentary not only covers the war itself, but the factors leading up to it such as the history of French colonization in Vietnam and the rise of Ho Chi Minh. Ultimately, it is “Mr. Burns’s saddest film,” according to the Times, due to the fact that the historical events it covers did not have an ending with any positivity, unlike the events covered in Burns’s other films, and that the documentary is “less an indictment than a lament.”
Finally, The Economist discusses the series and the war in the context of both American and Vietnamese perspectives:
“The series will be equally wrenching for Vietnamese viewers. The conflict was a civil war, numerous Vietnamese interviewees insist—“down to the family level”, says Duong Van Mai Elliott, a Vietnamese-American academic from the South whose sister went north to join the communists.”
For the month of October, stop by the lobby on the first floor of the Schurz Library at IU South Bend to see an exhibit of military art and history. “The Things They Carried: Sequences” collects items used by veterans, as well as their stories — soon to be shared online. The exhibit is in four sections. One highlights the classic and most influential works of literature concerning the experience of war, from The Kite Runner to For Whom the Bell Tolls, including (of course) Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Another section also highlights works of beauty from the battlefield, this time in the form of “trench art” objects.
Two other sections have a historical bent. One illustrates the change in helmets and head gear worn by soldiers and sailors from World War I to World War II to the Korean and Vietnam Wars to the Cold War and both Gulf Wars. The last section showcases the person items carried by veterans, including dog tags and neckerchiefs and lighters and pocket knives and compasses. Every artifact was seen by its owner as important enough to keep for years after their service.
The material on display was loaned by current IU South Bend students, alumni, faculty and staff, community members, and the History Museum. The exhibit is free and open to the public.