Post-Doc Projekt: Dr. Frank Usbeck

Dr. Frank Usbeck

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


Dr. Frank Usbeck


Adresse work


Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Wiener Straße 48

01219 Dresden

work Tel.
+49 351 463-32878
fax Fax
+49 351 463-37733


Sprechzeiten nach Vereinbarung

US Milblogs and "Homecoming scenarios"

This case study discusses negotiations of war experience in US soldiers' weblogs written from the combat zone and activist films and websites about soldiers' homecoming. Both are characterized by their self-referentiality and self-conscious community-building. The project analyzes how their public discourse on war experience serves to construct meaning through a self-reflective examination of their own narrative effort and interaction, how these narratives and performances help negotiate group identities and social values, and how they contribute to the civil (re-)integration of soldiers and veterans.

This postdoctoral project employs an approach of cultural comparison as it correlates milblogs and homecoming scenarios with the rituals of North American Indigenous warrior cultures. Several Native American cultures have retained or revived a tradition of performative and narrative ceremonies related to war and warriorhood until today. They are an integral part of current cultural practices of Native members of the US armed forces in the current conflicts.

Both scholars in Native studies and (military) psychology have pointed out that these ceremonies, symbolically reaffirming the relationship between warriors and their Indigenous communities, have positive effects on symptoms of war-related stress. They suggest that elements of community support and the “social absorption” of stress in these warrior ceremonies could inform current efforts to improve trauma therapy and reintegration for all US veterans. Some scholars and activists propose that US civil society should develop comparable, civic rituals for veterans based on reciprocal ceremonial storytelling. My project argues that milblogs (as well as some activist websites and films on homecoming), in fact, provide platforms and a specific textuality for cultural practices in which soldiers and veterans narrate their experience, while a civilian audience reciprocates in bearing witness to these accounts and offering support.

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Letzte Änderung: 19.07.2016