Fall 2012

The Vietnam War: Transnational Histories and the Politics of Memory

Listed in: History, as HIST-258


Colleen P. Woods (Section 01)


[USc] Until recently, American histories of the Vietnam War have focused on the reasons, roles, and results of the American intervention in Vietnam or, as one historian described it, “what Americans did in Vietnam (or even at home in the United States) and what was done to them.” In Vietnam, on the other hand, histories of the war were, until the 1990s, largely collapsed into a linear and nationalist narrative of state development. Transnational methodologies used by scholars in recent years have brought to the forefront new understandings of the conflict including: the complexities of colonialism, nationalism, and communist/socialist internationalism, the diversity of Vietnamese experiences, and the influence of culture on diplomatic policy-making. Drawing from this body of new scholarship, the course will engage multiple approaches to the study of the Vietnam War from accounts of French and U.S. colonialism in Asia, to investigations of the policy-making role of state officials in both Vietnam and the U.S., to micro-histories of village networks in South Vietnam. This course will also consider how “collective memory-making,” i.e., how people with shared experiences remember or retell the past, intersects with the contested histories of the war. Through considerations of film, memoir, and memorial sites, the course not only considers how the Vietnam War unfolded but also how its place in public memory was created and mobilized in its aftermath. Two class meeting per week.

Limited to 25 students.  Fall semester.  Visiting Professor Woods.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012