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Chapter 3 focuses on space and the visual dimensions of the memory of the dissolution. Concentrating on the period between the late sixteenth century and the late seventeenth century, it examines the work of a number of antiquaries who produced topographies and images of former monastic sites. Taking previous scholarship on the ‘nostalgic’ element in antiquarian topographies of the dissolution as its main point of departure, this chapter addresses the role of monastic ruins together with those sites that were converted to new uses, both spiritual and secular, in shaping changing perspectives on the suppression. It argues that we should pay more attention to converted spaces – whether parish churches or private homes – which could function to reinforce the project to forget the dissolution across the generations. To support this argument, this chapter also features a substantial discussion of the visual afterlives of the dissolution. It illuminates what recent scholarship has described as a seventeenth-century visual culture of ‘pastness’, but also hypothesises the emergence of a parallel and equally powerful visual culture of the present. Ultimately, it suggests that topographical writing and images were genres in which senses of loss could converge with gain, past with present, and remembering with forgetting.
Chapter 8 examines how veterans worked to reassert their wartime connection to peacetime Việt Nam. Many veterans returned to Việt Nam with strong feelings of diasporic connection to the physical space of the country, feelings that were often challenged by local practices, national memories, and the effects of the passage of time. This chapter explores how veterans negotiated that challenge by engaging in nostalgic practices – such as recreating “bar culture,” expressing nostalgic discontent at the corruption of peacetime Việt Nam, and establishing hierarchies of diasporic belonging among the expatriate communities – before turning to explore how veterans justified their presence in Việt Nam, showing how they harnessed Australian and American wartime culture, values, and knowledge in order to establish their authority. This chapter concludes by analyzing how Australian and US returnees made sense of their return to Việt Nam as living legacies of war.
Chapter 1 examines the first era of veterans’ return journeys. Between 1981 and 1994, a trickle of Australian and American Vietnam veterans returned to Việt Nam on journeys of reconciliation. As Western war commemorations and popular culture representations allowed veterans to reflect on their wartime experiences, some returned to Việt Nam to address lingering questions they had about the people, the country, and the war. Others returned in reaction to contemporary political issues, while major economic changes within Việt Nam acted as a cue for veterans who had long dreamed of returning. For some veterans, returning marked a turning point that challenged them to atone for the war, while others found new opportunities and relationships. These first returnees discovered a place that had seemingly moved on from war, which brought them a measure of peace. Many became advocates for formal reconciliation with and restitution for the Vietnamese.
Chapter 3 examines the third era of veterans’ return journeys, from 2006–16. This final period was defined by war commemoration. As Vietnam War commemoration surged in Australia and the United States, increasing numbers of Australian veterans chose to mark a string of major war anniversaries in Việt Nam, while the cultural militarization that paralleled the unfolding War on Terror led anti-war American veterans to reflect on their service. Việt Nam’s tourism industry tapped the growing Western market by turning toward kitsch reproductions of war that hinged on American memories. Organized tours became more popular as returnees became more diverse and reached retirement. Australian veterans strongly preferred commercial battlefield tourism and private troop reunions, while Americans favored peace- or healing-oriented returns. Among both groups, tours were refined and contained over the years to expatriate areas, increasingly marketing nostalgia tourism and secluding returnees from the realities of postwar Việt Nam.
The Introduction explains that veterans returned to Việt Nam in search of resolution, or peace, in their personal relationships with the war. This search manifested in nostalgia for “Vietnam,” with returnees acting as a diasporic community forged in war. While many returnees found a measure of peace upon return, they were also challenged by the erasure of their wartime presence. Veterans drew on wartime memories and performed nostalgic practices to recapture their sense of belonging in Việt Nam. Outlining three distinct eras of returnees, this chapter shows how a comparative, transnational perspective reveals stark differences in American and Australian war memories, narratives, and imaginings of “Vietnam.” This chapter presents a review of the existing scholarship on the topic of returning veterans, situating the book in broader literature on the war and its legacies; explains the book’s oral history methodology and analytic approach; and outlines the broader structure of the book.
Chapter 2 examines the second era of veterans’ return journeys, from 1995–2005. This era of return was characterized by “normalization”: the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Việt Nam offered security to tentative veterans who had watched the reconciliation process from afar. Lifted travel restrictions and a growing tourism industry provided returnees with more latitude in their returns, resulting in a more diverse return group. Increasingly, veterans from both countries returned on “healing journeys,” approaching Việt Nam as the locus of their trauma. A discourse of trauma emerged in their narratives, mirroring the rising popularity of therapy and psychoanalysis in Western cultures, with the majority of normalization returnees describing their returns as therapeutic. Many of the normalization returnees became engaged in reconstruction activities as a form of atonement in Việt Nam, reshaping early returnees’ reconciliation processes into personal healing projects.
Between 1981 and 2016, thousands of American and Australian Vietnam War veterans returned to Việt Nam. This comparative, transnational oral history offers the first historical study of these return journeys. It shows how veterans returned in search of resolution, or peace, manifesting in shifting nostalgic visions of 'Vietnam.' Different national war narratives shaped their returns: Australians followed the 'Anzac' pilgrimage tradition, whereas for Americans the return was an anti-war act. Veterans met former enemies, visited battlefields, mourned friends, found new relationships, and addressed enduring legacies of war. Many found their memories of war eased by witnessing Việt Nam at peace. Yet this peacetime reality also challenged veterans' wartime connection to Vietnamese spaces. The place they were nostalgic for was Vietnam, a space in war memory, not Việt Nam, the country. Veterans drew from wartime narratives to negotiate this displacement, performing nostalgic practices to reclaim their sense of belonging.
This chapter examines the two Chicago-set graphic novels of Chris Ware entitled Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000) and Building Stories (2012), as well as Lost Buildings (2004), Ware’s “on-stage radio & picture collaboration” with Ira Glass for National Public Radio. The chapter argues that Ware’s body of work explores how various human networks engage with the storied history and urban geography of his adopted city, and that it does so in endlessly experimental ways that have continued to redefine the expressive potential of the comics form. In these works, Ware creates complex visual narratives in which the city and its ever-changing urban landscape is often as much of a character as the people inhabiting it, and his meticulously drawn pages are thus an attempt not only to depict and make sense of Chicago but also to create a visual index of the relationship between its spatial and emotional lives. Despite his untraditional choice of form, this approach places him in a lineage of Chicago writers that reaches all the way back to the earliest recorders of life in the city.
Hamilton Carroll considers shifting trends across nearly two decades of post-9/11 novels from early works grappling with the unrepresentability of terror to recent narratives by Susan Choi, Mohsin Hamid, Joseph O’Neill, and Jess Walter that depict the everyday experiences of racialized precarity in a period of perpetual warfare, nuclear proliferation, migration catastrophes, and neo-ethnonationalisms. Political turmoil and violence by state and non-state entities remain central to twenty-first century life, even as the events of September 11, 2001, have shifted from recent trauma to historical retrospection.
Chapter 8 focusses on the region’s recent history of sustained economic decline and political change and conflict. It explains the reasons for this crisis and the role of indebtedness, political corruption and the imposition of austerity and market-oriented policies in reducing living standards and necessitating the ‘reform’ of the mining industry and Copperbelt societies. The chapter explores the rising local opposition to both these policies and to political repression and the contrasting experiences of political change in the early 1990s, with Zambia transitioning to multi-party democracy while Congo was mired in profound social crisis and military conflict. It then explores the liberalisation of both economies and the privatisation of the mining industry, associated in the Copperbelt with the loss of formal-sector jobs, falling living standards and the loss of company social provision. The chapter uses interviews to explore local understandings of this period of decline and political change and how social scientists have explained this extended period of decline.
In this paper, I consider the role that nostalgia—and the interaction between racial attitudes and nostalgia—played in predicting vote choice in the 2016 US presidential election. I present quantitative data from an original dataset that asked questions about nostalgia and racial resentment to demonstrate the role that nostalgia played in predicting a person’s likelihood of voting for Donald Trump. I find that nostalgia and racial resentment predicted support for Donald Trump in 2016. Nostalgia operates differently among different populations, though. Nostalgia does not predict vote choice among nonwhites, though it is very predictive among whites. Similarly, racial resentment is a strong predictor of support for Trump among whites, but it does not predict Trump support among nonwhites unless they thought that America was better off in 2008 compared to 2016.
This chapter focuses on the theme of dignity as faith. First, the chapter attempts to clarify the use of the term “faith” as opposed to “religion.” The notion of dignity/karama is not just related to Islam, but also to a social condition that is embedded in one’s religious status and the accompanying process of socialization. The discussion of a human’s worth, central to understanding dignity/karama, is often related to religious studies. Given the broad context of this relationship, the focus here is to look only at the scholarship suggested from the interviews: notably dignity for Spinoza, for Pico della Mirandola, and for the secularists versus Islamists and in their debate with each other. The chapter gives milestones for the understanding of the discussion of karama and faith/religion in the interviews presented in this chapter.
In South Korea, romanticization of the era of Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945) has long been taboo: the period is widely regarded as one of the most painful and shameful parts of South Korean history. However, during the past decade unexpected cracks have appeared in established national narratives on the colonial period. This paper explores the dissonance between long-standing national narratives and the commodification of local heritage sites for tourism, by examining the heritagization of Japanese colonial architecture in the city of Gunsan. Despite the Gunsan Municipal Government positions the city's colonial stories in ways that largely align with national official narratives on Japanese colonial history, such efforts have unexpectedly generated feelings of imagined nostalgia in three ways: (1) through clashes between official colonial history and the means by which colonial daily life is depicted in Gunsan's Modern Cultural Belt; (2) through the interwoven colonial and post-colonial stories presented in the city's Modern Historic Landscape District and (3) through the commercialized colonial and post-colonial stories articulated by private businesses in Gunsan. This paper suggests that productive nostalgia can help to overcome the limit of the current form of Gunsan's heritagization, and to construct Gunsan's diverse local memories
An overview of Steinbeck’s critical reputation that reasseses negative claims that Steinbeck is a middlebrow writer whose work is marked by unself-conscious nostalgia and sentimentalism. Turning to examples from The Grapes of Wrath and The Long Valley, the introduction argues that Steinbeck is a complex, varied, and experimental writer whose work is marked by metafiction and provocative contradiction that make it capable of unpacking and critically reexamining the very “faults” of which it is accused. Against claims that Steinbeck’s value lies in the past, I outline the many ways that his work is of urgent relevance today.
This chapter returns to white workers’ voices. Drawing on interviews with men who entered blue-collar work and joined the MWU before or during the Wiehahn reforms, it demonstrates the persistence of proud working-class identification, the presence of deep ambivalence around race and whiteness, and working-class resentment towards wealthy Afrikaners. This contradicts the simplistic racial tropes, naturalisation of ethnic identity, and denial of class in the Solidarity Movement’s official framing. At the same time, the union veterans display deep commitment to the Movement and its ideals in the face of the loss of past certainties, perceptions of social decline, personal vulnerability, and anxiety about the future they perceive. This sees them subjected to pressure from the leadership to manage Solidarity’s race- and culture-based membership on the ground. Together, the men’s counternarratives, ambivalences, and vulnerabilities demonstrate the specificity of blue-collar subjectivities and workplace experiences. In this way, the testimonies presented in this chapter expose the persistent reality of class otherwise not readily visible within the white, Afrikaner population, and provide striking insight into how white workers experienced and sought to negotiate the demise of the racial state.
In June 2019, Google announced plans to connect Africa to Europe through an undersea internet cable project named Equiano. As a techno-commercial platform, Google’s gesture warrants scrutiny and propels this essay’s analyses of the political connections of Internet spaces that also enable a visual turn in the scholarship of African history. Using the Google search engine and Facebook, Yékú and Ojebode stress the embeddedness of digital technologies in cultural meanings that include visual narratives that visibilize government’s ahistoricism. They conclude by foregrounding the digital labors of Nigerian digital subjects who deploy historical photographs on Facebook as expressions of performative nostalgia.
This chapter focuses on Rorty’s engagements with Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault. It argues that, however much he enjoyed these encounters, Rorty’s philosophical views were largely unaffected by them. He tended to endorse what could be assimilated to his own Deweyan pragmatism and reject the rest. In this way, Rorty endorses Heidegger’s diagnosis of the history of European philosophy, while disavowing his criticism of modernity and his nostalgia for an authentic language of Being. He denounces Foucault’s supposed commitment to anarchism and revolution as incompatible with his preferred Deweyan social democratic politics. Only his writings on Derrida provide evidence of deepening understanding of and sympathy with a philosophical project irreducible to his own. Overall, Rorty refuses to accept any philosophical invention on the part of these thinkers. Derrida’s deconstructive argument in favor of an elusive quasi-metaphysics of difference, and Foucault’s genealogies of present institutions and ways of thinking are either ignored or denounced as residues of the tradition they seek to escape. Rorty characterizes each of them as essentially private thinkers, “ascetic priests” who aspire to stand apart from the herd and to be in touch with a reality more profound than the life they share with others.
This article scrutinizes the relationship between collective nostalgia and populism. Different populist figures utilize nostalgia by referring to their country's ‘good old’ glorious days and exploiting resentment of the elites and establishment. Populists instrumentalize nostalgia in order to create their populist heartland, which is a retrospectively constructed utopia based on an abandoned but undead past. Using two original datasets from Turkey, this study first analyzes whether collective nostalgia characterizes populist attitudes of the electorate. The results illustrate that collective nostalgia has a significantly positive relationship with populist attitudes even after controlling for various independent variables, including religiosity, partisanship, satisfaction with life and Euroscepticism. Secondly, the study tests whether nostalgic messages affect populist attitudes using an online survey experiment. The results indicate that Ottoman nostalgia helps increase populist attitudes. Kemalist nostalgia, however, has a weak direct effect on populist attitudes that disappears after controlling for party preference.
Searching for common themes, this afterword questions the meaning and experience of nostalgia in Asia today. The collected essays show the important roles that conflict, trauma, and the need to create a new modernity shape, and are shaped by notions of nostalgia through much of Asia. Perhaps more so than in Europe, nostalgia in Asia seems very national. The case studies in this collection are excellent examples of how nostalgic longings are deployed to enhance national power, as well as a demonstration of the enduring influence of the nation-state over individual imagination across the region.
What is the role of nostalgia in our increasingly dynamic and interconnected world? This special issue, Mobilizing Nostalgia in Asia, assesses the mobilization of nostalgia in the changing international order, and within individuated socioeconomic and cultural spheres. Its four articles examine the political and social dynamics that evoke, utilize, amend, and manipulate nostalgia for collective present needs and demands. This Introduction connects the issue's four contributions to three interconnected themes: the power of nostalgia, the plurality of nostalgia, and nostalgia as a process of creation.