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Title: History-in-images/images in history : American cultural memory and film representations of the Vietnam War.
Author: Westwell, Guy.
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis charts points of convergence between the fields of historical studies and film studies that generate a line of inquiry which questions how the development and dissemination of film and television have significantly shaped historical conscIOusness. Taking this line of inquiry as a starting point, this thesis identifies the ways in which film (and television) representations have informed American cultural memory of the Vietnam War. The thesis describes how the reporting of the war in newspapers and on television results in the production of a number of vivid and powerful 'nodal images'; these images enable their viewers to locate themselves in relation to the larger event and offer guidance regarding how other representations produced in response to the war might be understood. The thesis goes on to explore how these images play a significant. role in secondary film and television representations, including Hollywood feature films, whereby the initial connotations of the image are recirculated, reenacted and re-scripted. The thesis also indicates how other film representation of the war - such as the film records produced by the American military for tactical and strategic purposes and amateur film produced by American military personnel- are side-lined by the dominance of these nodal images. This study closes by proposing a taxonomy of the key features of these film (and television) representations and profiles the ways in which these features determi~e American cultural memory of the war and mediate historical experience more generally. The conclusion arrived at is that the historical consciousness engendered by these representations encourages the meaning of the Vietnam War to be located in relation to individual phenomenological experience and that the priVileging of this experience above all others marginalises the wider frames of reference - politics, history, economics and so on - which might make that experience meaningful.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Newspapers; Television; Movies Literature Mass media Performing arts History