Vietnam War Symposium at Indiana University, July 23-24

Scholars,  researchers and anyone else interested in the Vietnam War are invited to attend “Vietnam War Stories: A Symposium on Conflict and Civic Engagement,” a two-day symposium that will be held July 23-24 on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. Registration is free and may be done on line.

Retired IU Professor and documentary filmmaker (and Vietnam War veteran) Ron Osgood, who is spearheading the symposium, told us that the event “aims to identify engaging ways to bring scholars, students, archivists, librarians, museum professionals, veterans, and, ultimately, the general public in direct contact with the lived experiences of both American and Vietnamese combatants and civilians who participated in the Vietnam War.”

Osgood has spent years compiling first-person video narratives of many of Americans and Vietnamese who took part in the war. Those interviews, along with related documents such as photographs and maps, are the basis of an online archive he created called Vietnam War/American War Stories. It provides “a unique window into the complexities of this controversial war, while offering a more holistic and personal record that will contribute to extant research and scholarship,” Osgood says.

“In addition to understanding the political and societal impact of the war, this project reflects on the role of memory—autobiographical memory, distorted memory, emotive memory—and the importance of building empathy by humanizing the enemy. It provides diverse perspectives on a war too often described and discussed from a single point of view.”

The symposium will feature keynote speeches by humanities scholars, socio-technologists, and archivists, including the head of the National Archives, David Ferriero, a Vietnam War veteran. Osgood’s Emmy-winning Indiana Public Television doc, “Just Like Me: Vietnam War Stories from All Sides,” will be shown during the symposium

For more information, contact Ron Osgood at osgoodr@indiana.edu




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