DSC Professor To Speak On Lingering Impact Of Vietnam War

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - by Misty Wheeler, Dalton State College

America’s relationship with the Vietnam War, both during and after the conflict, is a complicated one and will be discussed by Dr. Susan Eastman in a book talk Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at the College’s Roberts Library. The program is free and open to the public.

Dr. Eastman, an assistant professor of English at Dalton State, is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and author of “The American War in Vietnam: Cultural Memories at the Turn of the Century.” She is particularly interested in the treatment of veterans following the war which ended in 1975. In her book, Dr. Eastman examines the lingering effects of the unpopular war on Americans as depicted in memorials, poetry, and cinematic and fictional narratives. 

The book has drawn praise from Vietnam War scholars, including Dr. Philip D. Beidler.  “We have been waiting for a book on war and memory about the American War in Vietnam - both about the Americans and the Vietnamese - in the new century of the desert wars of Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Dr. Beidler, Margaret and William Going professor of English at the University of Alabama. “Susan Lyn Eastman has fulfilled that expectation, and she has done so with a study impressive in its range of topical issues, texts, and commentary.”

Dr. Eastman was born in small town in New Hampshire. As a girl, she attended a two-room school house and lived, as she puts, “off-the-grid.” She loved to read, but did not see herself going to college; no one else in her family ever had. While in high school she learned of Berea College in Kentucky. Berea is known as a “working college,” which means students work in exchange for tuition.

While still at Berea, she took a class called “Art and Disaster” which focused on the Holocaust. The class led her to realize that her interest in understanding the Vietnam War could be a subject for scholarly pursuit. 

After Berea, she received her doctorate in American literature from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and began working at the University of Tennessee and Chattanooga and Dalton State College. She says she loves working with students, and has the opportunity to continue writing about the subject she finds most interesting.

So far all of Dr. Eastman’s works focus on the subject of war and include “'The War Prayer' in Contemporary Film and Social Media,” “Randall Wallace’s We Were Soldiers: Forgetting the American War in Vietnam,” and “Aesthetic Limbo: Memory Making at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.”


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