Wars are dramatic, transformational events, locally and on the global geopolitical stage. They create violence and upheaval that end, and upend, the lives of combatants and noncombatants alike. They displace refugees, send soldiers into harm’s way, traumatize soldiers and civilians. Wars redirect massive resources toward military mobilization and weaponry. They create camaraderie with allies and divisions with enemies. Wars have the potential to transform ecosystems, physiological systems, psychology, morality and identity, relationships across families and generations, and young adults’ future aspirations. Individuals and communities who participate in war experience enduring, often troubling, legacies that persist far beyond the declaration of victory or defeat. Wars can also create resilience, and with persistence and dialogue, may ultimately resolve with reconciliation. Optimistically, post-war times offer unique opportunities for peacebuilding, recovery and healing that span once warring sides.
In this two-semester course (identified as Honors Praxis lab at the University of Utah, hereafter “UU”), students will engage in deep, critical analysis of the American War in Viet Nam and critically examine the war’s legacies across the sites of mind, body, culture, family, environment, politics, and memory. As time has passed and its survivors aged into late adulthood, we have reached a critical time to reflect upon that war’s legacy and to engage in conversations with those who experienced and survived it. Their experiences hold insights into war’s true toll, and the means to survive, recover, and reconcile in the wake of war. Unique to this course will be a transnational, multi-sided consideration of war’s legacies across diverse populations who experienced the war, including Vietnamese and American participants in the fighting, activists against the fighting, and a wide range of noncombatants who, despite being on the “margins” of the fighting, nonetheless experienced war’s toll. We will critically discuss how experiences of war and post-war migrations between countries constitute diasporic connections between Vietnam and America today. Through readings, films, guest lectures, and our own conversations, we will develop an appreciation of military veterans’ and noncombatants’ experiences – their memories of war, experiences of trauma, and sources of resilience. We will also consider the intergenerational and international connections – of suffering, resilience, and healing – that have arisen out of the American War in Vietnam.
A unique feature of this course is its international, collaborative design. In this course we will follow the “Connected Course” model, which is quite similar but not identical to the COIL (Collaborative International Online Learning) approach now popular in North America, working in close collaboration with Professors Kim Korinek, Stormy Shepherd, and students at UU. Over the course of the academic year, Fulbright students will work closely with their UU peers to develop an understanding of war legacies across their lives, families, and societies. Students will form small working groups that span Fulbright and UU with whom they will regularly meet for synchronous discussion on Zoom/Canvas, share ideas and peer feedback on the discussion springboard, and jointly prepare a research proposal for a project that examines and documents a legacy of the war. These international conversations, scheduled to take place over Zoom once per week, will facilitate cross-cultural awareness and appreciation of our countries’ linked histories and the diverse ways that the war has shaped individual lives, families, and communities.

This course also incorporates a unique UU learning abroad opportunity into their collaborative team research with their Fulbright peers. During the UU Fall break week (and several days in the subsequent week), UU class will travel together to Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly, Saigon), Vietnam. Over the course of a 10-day trip (departing October 7/8 and returning October 18/19), the UU team will visit contemporary sites of war legacy and remembrance. On the Fulbright campus, together we will hold several joint class sessions with your UU classmates and their instructors, Professors Korinek and Shepherd. We will arrange meetings with Vietnamese scholars and veterans who will share their personal experiences during the war.

offering time

Fall 22


Vietnam Studies


Nguyen Nam


Course code


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