War and Memory: Pathologising Critique

August 2021


In the third installment of our series on war and memory we speak with American academic and Vietnam veteran Jerry Lembcke on how resistance to the conflict in South East Asia was framed during the 1960s and 70s. The discussion focuses on two key positions in Jerry’s work: stab in the back theory and the pathologising of dissent through the coining of post-traumatic stress disorder. He unpacks how in the former, misogyny was used to paint anti-war activists as weak and effeminate against the strength and heroic resolve of the troops; whilst in the latter, the critical voices of veterans returning from the conflict were explained as the product of mental health rather than a form of resistance to the war.

Jerry Lembcke is  Associate Professor Emeritus at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and the author of eight books, including The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of VietnamCNN’s Tailwind: Inside Vietnam’s Last Great Myth, and Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has been a guest on several NPR programs including On the Media.

You can find out more on Jerry’s amazing work here.

Music by Esion Noise.

We would also like to thank Jacob over at Liverpool Podcast Studios.

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