Us vs. Them: Cultural Encounters in Warzones through Reading American War Literature
Keywords:culture, West, United States of America, war, American literature
In 1996, Samuel Huntington argued that the end of the Cold War Era marked the end of global instability based on ideological and economic differences and preferences. However, he did not predict any kind of a peaceful future for humankind but maintained that future conflicts will arise from cultural differences. The clashes are inevitable, he claims, as long as one side (usually the West) insists on imposing universalism to other civilizations whose cultural awareness is on the rise. Ever since the Vietnam War, American military tacticians have believed that the knowledge and understanding of the enemy’s culture will lead to victory, and American military academies and schools are dedicating more attention to cultural studies within their general strategy. This paper is based on the reading and analysis of several American fiction and non-fiction novels from the Vietnam and the Iraq Wars. Since all of these works are first-hand accounts of war experience and soldiers’ cultural encounters with their ‘adversaries’, the research is focused on the (im)possibility of soldiers’ true understanding and appreciation of different cultures/civilizations during wartime. It also suggests that knowing the enemy is to no avail if wars are fought with the goal of Westernizing other cultures.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal ELOPE by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.