The course would focus on the effects of war in the lives of real individuals in an attempt to humanize and make palpable the destructive elements of war that many of us who live in relative peace have become desensitized to. It will also focus on the after-effects of war that may be experienced by those who have never been through the actual event(s). Vietnam and Cambodia have both experienced long periods of conventional warfare that continue to leave the populace scarred physically, psychologically and spiritually. Both countries are also inextricably tied to the history of warfare in US.
The travel portion of the course will possibly include trips to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Angkor Wat Temple, Mercy Medical Center (all in Cambodia), Hồ Chí Minh City, Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Ngãi and Ban Mê Thuột (all in Vietnam). The study portion of the course will include films about the wars in both countries and texts. It will examine the effects of the psychological phenomenon “ambiguous loss” which involves the death of family members on immediate and extended family who have never known them except through the memories and stories of others.
The course is appropriate for students in all majors. Those who enroll in the course will be given a choice to respond to the travel portion through journaling and artistic expression or through further research and writing. Depending on those who are interested, we may be able to change the itinerary of the course to include some of your personal interests.