Jana Lipman, Tulane University

Friday, April 19, 2013

3 pm to 5 pm

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Labor History Seminar

“’A Precedent Worth Setting’: The U.S. Military and Humanitarian Operations”
Jana Lipman, Tulane University

This paper will analyze the history of the military’s use of humanitarian discourse after the war in Vietnam. Drawing on recent scholarship on the U.S. military and labor history, this paper analyzes “work” and the U.S. military through two levels of analysis. First, it considers the ways in which the 1975 Vietnamese refugee operation was a defining moment for the U.S. military, creating a precedent and elevating the importance of humanitarian operations and work within the military. Second, it analyzes the role of individual soldiers and military personnel as their job descriptions, missions, and daily tasks changed dramatically in the post-Vietnam era.

Commentators: Michael Allen, Northwestern University and Mark Bradley, University of Chicago