Public Lecture: “Patriotism, Love and America’s War on Terror”
Thursday, June 8 at 7pm
Brian Mulroney Hall, Room 101
Listen to lecture HERE.

John Bodnar, Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor, Department of History, University of Indiana at Bloomington.
Dr. Bodnar’s current research examines representations of violence in American memory and culture. His influential publications include The “Good War” in American Memory (2010), Bonds of Affection: Americans Define their Patriotism (1996) and Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century (1992). His lecture will examine patriotic framings of the War on Terror.

There was a sense after the terrorists attacks of 9/11 that the moral position of America in its War on Terror was unassailable.  Suddenly attacked by foreign invaders, most citizens saw retaliation as completely justified–more like World War II than Vietnam.  Patriotic fervor ran high in the fall of 2001 and appeared fully capable of performing its traditional role of valorizing the nation’s character and the identity of  proud warriors who served its cause. Slowly, however, the nation’s culture began to fill with expressions of derision toward patriotic ideals and stories. Cultural forms such as memoirs, films, and commemorations increasingly offered critical commentary on the war and its human costs.  To be sure some of this contestation of patriotic myths emanated from the controversial decision to invade Iraq.  This presentation, however, will stress that the movement to challenge traditional patriotic language and myth during the War on Terror emanated not so much from  customary political battles over war policies but from the realm of personal emotions.  Whether cultural expressions were tied to the 9/11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan, or the invasion of Iraq, there was a constant tension between the drive to turn tragedy into honor and the rejection of such an effort by those refusing to abandon their sense of mourning and sorrow.  The point here is to highlight the role national symbols and ideals play in trying to discipline feelings that promise to upset nationalist aspirations to turn state sponsored violence into noble deeds.