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Title

Mapping American Experiences with Jungle: Highlights of "The Bush" In American Popular Culture

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Jungles--Public opinion; Popular culture--United States;

Abstract

Working under a framework of environmental history, iconography, landscape, and popular culture this opening chapter of my Thesis sets out to lay a groundwork for my narrative on the Vietnam War and its aftermath: where I will continue to use this framework to explore the jungle in film, literature, and "popular fantasy." My early explorations study Americans symbolic, iconography, and tangible experiences with Jungle in the late 19th and early to mid-20th century. My methods involved exploring literature, and the authors imagined incursions into the "dark interior" with books such as "Heart of Darkness," "The Jungle Book," and "Tarzan." Included in this background will also be a study of expeditions by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Stanley, and their attitudes and thoughts on the African environment. These visits, I argue, help lay down a trope of fantasy and expectations for later generations leading up to the Vietnam conflict. My rationale for these works is that they, while being the most popular, also came to represent the most commonly held fantasies and expectations of Jungle environments which is reflected in later memoirs, literature, and pop-culture within the Vietnam conflict and its landscape of "the bush." My explorations suggest that both a real and imagined landscape of the jungle arose from these brushes with alien wilderness, and came to help construct ideas of what Indochina's environment would be like: opposed to the difficult ecological reality of heat, tangled brush, poor visibility, insects, and mountainous terrain. Realities, which in their own right, help create a new landscape of the jungle in the years after the Vietnam War.

Start Date

4-4-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2017 4:30 PM

Faculty Advisor

Brian Roberts

Faculty Advisor

Michael Childers

Department

Department of History

Comments

Location: Maucker Union Presidential Room

Embargo Date

4-4-2017

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Apr 4th, 1:00 PM Apr 4th, 4:30 PM

Mapping American Experiences with Jungle: Highlights of "The Bush" In American Popular Culture

Working under a framework of environmental history, iconography, landscape, and popular culture this opening chapter of my Thesis sets out to lay a groundwork for my narrative on the Vietnam War and its aftermath: where I will continue to use this framework to explore the jungle in film, literature, and "popular fantasy." My early explorations study Americans symbolic, iconography, and tangible experiences with Jungle in the late 19th and early to mid-20th century. My methods involved exploring literature, and the authors imagined incursions into the "dark interior" with books such as "Heart of Darkness," "The Jungle Book," and "Tarzan." Included in this background will also be a study of expeditions by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Stanley, and their attitudes and thoughts on the African environment. These visits, I argue, help lay down a trope of fantasy and expectations for later generations leading up to the Vietnam conflict. My rationale for these works is that they, while being the most popular, also came to represent the most commonly held fantasies and expectations of Jungle environments which is reflected in later memoirs, literature, and pop-culture within the Vietnam conflict and its landscape of "the bush." My explorations suggest that both a real and imagined landscape of the jungle arose from these brushes with alien wilderness, and came to help construct ideas of what Indochina's environment would be like: opposed to the difficult ecological reality of heat, tangled brush, poor visibility, insects, and mountainous terrain. Realities, which in their own right, help create a new landscape of the jungle in the years after the Vietnam War.