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War & Peace Studies Caucus: Militarizing the Domestic/Domesticating the Military: Home/Not Home in American Military Cultures

Sat, November 19, 10:00 to 11:45am, HYATT REGENCY AT COLORADO CONVENTION CTR, Floor: Level 4, Capitol 3

Session Submission Type: Paper Session: On Line Format

Abstract

What marks a culture as militarized? What makes a military domesticated? Recent studies of prolonged warfare, base culture, and the increasing militarization of domestic life point to the ways in which the war zone and the home front bleed into one another. This panel will be sponsored by the War and Peace Studies Caucus and linked with a second session to follow. Each paper considers a different form of cultural production—from nutritional guides and snapshot photography to artworks and public memorials—and its relation to the intersection of the military and the domestic. Together, the papers on this panel consider the ways in which the military permeates non-military spaces but also the ways that the military naturalizes, domesticates, or otherwise makes invisible its violent practices.

Andrea Gustavson considers the visual representation of the downtime and the daily work of war in snapshots taken by nurses and Red Cross workers serving abroad in the post-war and early Cold War periods. Wendy Kozol and Rebecca Adelman analyze “Care Packages,” photographs of the packages sent to deployed service members, and the Combat Paper Project, workshops for veterans to pulp their uniforms into paper for artworks. Adelman and Kozol investigate the affective politics of these artistic projects that both critique militarization and privilege care for the soldiering body and psyche. Finally, Rusty Bartels explores the origins, mission, and organization of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the US government agency that oversees memorials abroad. His paper examines these sites commemorating historical conflicts and ways in which these sites of American martial memory shape the domestic fabric of the surrounding communities.

The case studies in this panel explore the ways in which American military cultures muddle the line between home and not home, prompting questions about the representation of a kinder, gentler military and the domestication of militarized violence.

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