ERIC Number: ED382973
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching the Vietnam War in the 1990s.
Franklin, H. Bruce
For an instructor who has been teaching the Vietnam War for over 30 years, the War has been teaching him for even longer. One of the objectives in teaching the Vietnam War in the 1990s is what it meant to teach the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It is easy to forget that the antiwar movement began as an attempt to educate the government and the nation, however naive this goal may have been. The first national activity against the war was the teach-ins of March 1965, and the election campaign of Lyndon Johnson in 1964 was itself an educational experience. Today's college students have grown up in an environment in which the Vietnam War has been redefined, rewritten, and, most important, reimaged--most recently in the film "Forrest Gump." Hollywood has explored the POW/MIA myth by producing such POW rescue fantasies as "Uncommon Valor,""Missing In Action," and "Rambo: First Blood, Part II." On the first day of class, students are asked to answer (anonymously) central questions about the War, such as when did it begin, who won, and why. Also on the first day, the class explores poetry in its relation to the War. Among the books studied in class are the collections "Vietnam and America: A Documented History" and "The Vietnam War in American Stories, Songs, and Poems." The course is framed by two fictional narratives, "The Quiet American" (Graham Greene) and "Dog Soldiers" (Robert Stone). Together they offer a before-and-after picture of America. (PA)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Historical Background; Vietnam War Literature
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Joint Meetings of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (Philadelphia, PA, April 12-15, 1995).