‘Objectifying’ the War. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a Secular Message Board.
Keywords:Vietnam War aftermath, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, offerings at ‘the Wall’, object-based cultural discourse, American History Museum
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. has become one of the most important cultural signifiers of the nation. Only what it signifies is far from clear. ‘A place of healing’ is a frequently applied epithet; in conjunction with partial memory loss; but ‘healing’ does not work without prior analysis of the wound. In postmodern fashion; anyone can read into it what they want. Evidence for its enduring popularity are the roughly 90 000 objects that have since its inception in 1982 been deposited at ‘the Wall’. These depositions represent an uncensored and hard to control alternative discourse on Vietnam; they are collected daily and stored at a huge warehouse. The ‘Wall’ is not only a sacred site; a locus of grief and contemplation; and a locus of re-uniting the nation; it has also become a prominent place where cultural battles are waged. Since 1995 there has been a permanent exhibition of a selected “Offerings at the Wall” at the Smithsonian Institute. They collectively represent a discourse refusing to be co-opted into a national strategy to re-interpret the Vietnam War as “in truth a noble cause” and an event in which American soldiers acted honourably.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal ELOPE by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.