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Department of History pres.

The Vietnam War: What Happened and Why It Still Matters

A Talk by Professors Keith W. Taylor and Olga Dror

Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor
Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor
Keith W. Taylor, Cornell University
“Fashionable Myths and Unacknowledged Lessons”

Americans continue to remember the Vietnam War according to Hanoi wartime propaganda recycled via the anti-war movement into textbooks, documentaries, and talking heads. This has contributed to long-term effects of the war on domestic politics, foreign policy, and narratives of American history during the past half century. Does recent scholarship about the war allow a fresh perspective?

Olga Dror, Texas A&M University
“Civilians and Memories of Massacre.”

Communist forces massacred approximately 3,000 civilians in Hue City during the 1968 Tet Offensive. How and why did this happen, and why is it important for Americans to remember massacres committed by US troops but to ignore massacres committed by enemy forces? Memories of civilian massacres continue to influence history and politics in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora.


Keith W. Taylor, a veteran of the Vietnam War, received his PhD in Vietnamese history at the University of Michigan in 1976. He subsequently taught at universities in Japan and Singapore and has conducted extensive research in Vietnam. For the past thirty years he has been Professor of Sino-Vietnamese Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. He regularly teaches a course about the Vietnam War and has published many articles and books about Vietnamese history and literature, including A History of the Vietnamese (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Educated in Russia, Israel, and the United States, Olga Dror is currently an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University and Fellow at the National Humanities center (2019-2020). She has authored, translated, and co-edited five books and numerous articles on topics from theistic to political religions to Vietnamese non-combatants’ experiences during the War. Her most recent monograph Making Two Vietnams: War and Youth Identities, 1965-1975 was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Ho Chi Minh’s Cult in Vietnamese Statehood.

Presented by the Department of History, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Michigan War Studies Group.

Free and open to the public. Veterans are welcome to attend.
Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor
Olga Dror (left) and Keith W. Taylor

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