Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Asian American Studies
© 2023 Mena Dolinh
This thesis is concerned with visions of future pasts— how and why the Vietnam War continues to be reimagined and re-remembered, and how memories of the War will materialize in the near and far future. Reflecting on the War’s status as the first real-time televised U.S. conflict and the subject of an enormous (and unprecedented) photographic archive, I explore its shifting relevance to an ever-evolving, contemporary America. I am particularly invested in understanding how refugeetude and refugee bodies are conceptualized in speculative futures of nation— if at all— how a persistent refugee condition resists dominant temporalities of assimilation and subject formation and how refugee remembering stands as testimony against militarized violence and erasure. Building upon Marianne Hirsch’s writing on postmemory in conjunction with critical refugee studies work from scholars such as Yen Le Espiritu and Mimi Thi Nguyen, I carve out an intervention in analyzing secondary Vietnam War media as a mode of speculation that insists on the active rescripting of memory in order to affirm nationhood in the face of future threat. Additionally, I interrogate the role that developing technology plays in remembering and remembering ‘better’ — how filmmaking, software, digitization, and more have been critical in (re)shaping our understanding of the past and complicating temporal and material attachments to archives. Lastly, I imagine the potential for refugee futurities through said technologies, thinking through embodied memory and diaspora as they intersect with theories of posthumanism and an increasingly cybernetic world.
Dolinh, Mena, "Visions of Future Past: the Vietnam War, Technological Remembrance, and the Refugee Body" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2083.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.