Denison Professor's Book Investigates Vietnam War Narratives
Date of Event: December 8, 2009
Posted: December 8, 2009
A new book by Brenda Boyle, assistant professor of English at Denison University, examines the ways in which the Vietnam War and its accompanying movements altered traditional American conceptions of masculinity, looking especially at dialogues ranging from fiction to memoirs, films and military recruiting advertisements. The book, titled “Masculinity in Vietnam War Narratives,” also illustrates how, decades later, the anxieties of the Vietnam era still are evident in discussions ranging from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to recent presidential campaigns.
Boyle grew up in a military family and also served in the U.S. Army. She says, “According to the American ethos, war is supposed to be where masculinity is developed and confirmed, where a boy becomes a man.” Boyle’s Army stint was spent in tactical units where she “… felt pressure to behave in acceptably military masculine ways. So I’ve always been curious about gender, especially masculinity, how we perform it, and how it is represented in fiction and film.”
Boyle is also director of the Writing Center at Denison University.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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