The Whole World Is Mobilizing: Global Dimensions of Peace and Antiwar Activism around the Vietnam War

AHA Session 240
Sunday, January 10, 2016: 8:30 AM-10:30 AM
Salon B (Hilton Atlanta, Second Floor)
Robbie Lieberman, Kennesaw State University
Karin Aguilar-San Juan, Macalester College
Abou Bamba, Gettysburg College
Ian C. Fletcher, Georgia State University
Naoko Koda, New York University
Juan Valenzuela, Georgia State University

Session Abstract

The fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War has begun in the U.S. and, like the war itself, the commemoration will last a long time.  Running alongside the history of the war is another history of widespread and sustained opposition to American involvement.  In March 1965, for example, campus teach-ins quickly followed the U.S. deployment of combat troops and launch of the bombing campaign.  Our proposed roundtable will explore the global dimensions of peace and antiwar activism around the Vietnam War.  Ian Christopher Fletcher will consider how films contributed to a global Vietnam antiwar moment.  Naoko Koda will discuss transpacific connections between the Japanese and U.S. antiwar movements.  Juan Pablo Valenzuela will examine the stance of the Chilean left, especially during Salvador Allende’s 1970-73 Popular Unity government, towards Vietnam and the U.S.  Abou B. Bamba will track the question of Vietnam in Africa, where leaders and intellectuals drew on a shared anticolonial history and simultaneously confronted Portuguese colonialism and white-minority rule.  Karín Aguilar-San Juan will re-examine Susan Sontag’s trip to Vietnam and her famous essay about it to rethink the U.S. antiwar movement in the light of critical race studies and critical refugee studies.  These five brief presentations, based on 4-5 page papers, will yield some significant comparisons and connections.  Our goal is to stimulate a wide-ranging discussion, with members of the audience not only responding to our points but also contributing their own ideas and insights.  Indeed, we look forward to audience members broadening the discussion by sharing their perspectives on such topics as the roles of religious bodies and peace INGOs as well as the nature of antiwar activism in other countries and regions.  With a view to a possible collaborative project leading to publication, we want to think expansively with the audience about what a global approach to the histories of antiwar and peace activism during the Vietnam War could look like.

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