Journalists, particularly during times of war, have the heavy responsibility of writing and recording the first rough draft of history. Yet it’s been said repeatedly that in times of war, truth is the first casualty. This course will examine, explore and evaluate how well journalists have done, throughout history as well as today, in separating fact from fiction, discerning truth from propaganda and providing crucial information over merely blood and sensationalism.
We will get to know some of the men and women who have reported war and find out what motivated them in many cases to risk their lives. Does their work matter? Have they made a difference? Are they heroes or shills, thoughtful analysts or thrill-seeking adrenaline addicts? We will look at the concepts of objectivity and balance, and debate whether either is truly possible or desirable. We will dig into the concept of peace journalism vs. conflict reporting. And we will do all these things with a particular emphasis on the regions we visit.
Field WorkCountry: Vietnam
Date: February 13, 2019
This class is designed to give students a take on the Vietnam War from largely the viewpoint of the Vietnamese who fought the United States 50 years ago. First, the class will visit the War Remnants Museum, with exhibits including captured U. S. military hardware, depictions of torture and other war atrocities and portrayals of the conflict from a decidedly anti-U.S. standpoint. Then we will visit the tunnels of Cu-Chi, which illustrate the elaborate underground network that played a crucial role in the conflict. We will visit with Vietnam War photographer Hoang Van Cuong. Finally, we conclude with a stop at the Pho Binh noodle shop where the Tet Offensive was secretly planned in a room upstairs while American soldiers on the first floor enjoyed the food and beer. Learning Objectives:
- To experience the Vietnam War largely from the standpoint of the Vietnamese who fought the United States.
- To explore questions of propaganda, slanted reporting and the victors’ viewpoint in the writing of history.
- To evaluate the concepts of peace and healing decades after a conflict has ended.