Occupying War: Representing U.S. Militarism since 1989

Caitlin Marie Cawley, Fordham University


“Occupying War” is a cultural study of contemporary American militarism that offers one answer to the question, how did Americans get from the 1960s, a period that saw the largest antiwar movement in U.S. history, to our current era, in which many civilians cannot name our wars, let alone challenge them? It reads seminal war films and literary works alongside military reports, government documents, and news media coverage to trace two lines simultaneously: the practices and official discourses that distinguish America’s post-Cold War wars and the political and military actors involved in these campaigns, and the cultural existence of these wars, the aesthetics, narratives, and forms that literary, cinematic, and visual artists have used to represent them. By bringing these two lines into conversation, “Occupying War” argues that occupation—a uniquely incoherent form of warfare—is a driving force behind the tidal recess following the Vietnam War. More specifically, by reading Dispatches, Going After Cacciato, The Short-Timers, Full Metal Jacket, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, Jarhead, Restrepo, Redeployment, and War Porn, among other works, within the context of occupying militarism, this dissertation offers a fuller understanding of why American civilians in the twenty-first century struggle to apprehend and resist our current state of “permanent” war.

Subject Area

British and Irish literature|Film studies|American studies

Recommended Citation

Cawley, Caitlin Marie, "Occupying War: Representing U.S. Militarism since 1989" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27540472.