CHRG Seminar Series 2022
Mia Martin Hobbs – Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys
Between 1981 and 2016, thousands of American and Australian veterans returned to Việt Nam. Return to Vietnam is the first historical study of their journeys. Drawing on original oral histories, the book takes a comparative, transnational approach to investigate why veterans returned and how they reacted to the people and places of Việt Nam – their former enemies, allies, and battlefields – as the war receded into history and memory.
In this talk, I focus on the comparative feature of the book, revealing key differences between returning Americans and Australians. Demonstrating a new digital mapping technique, I show how national geographies of return mirrored the war experience, creating national enclaves of veteran returnees in contemporary Việt Nam. Different national narratives about the war also shaped their returns: an anti-war American narrative and an “Anzac” Australian narrative, creating different nostalgic imaginaries of “Vietnam” among the returnees. Upon return, veterans drew on these national war narratives to negotiate displacement, relying on familiar stories in a suddenly unfamiliar place.
Wednesday 16 March 2022, 11am
You can attend this seminar at Waurn Ponds (ic2.108), Burwood (Burwood Corporate Centre) or online via zoom.