Enemies of the state(s): cultural memory, cinema, and the Iraq War

Edited book (chapter)


Gehrmann, Richard. 2017. "Enemies of the state(s): cultural memory, cinema, and the Iraq War." Gildersleeve, Jessica and Gehrmann, Richard (ed.) Memory and the wars on terror: Australian and British perspectives. Houndmills, United Kingdom. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 69-89
Chapter Title

Enemies of the state(s): cultural memory, cinema, and the Iraq War

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID2865
Book TitleMemory and the wars on terror: Australian and British perspectives
Authors
AuthorGehrmann, Richard
EditorsGildersleeve, Jessica and Gehrmann, Richard
Page Range69-89
SeriesPalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
Chapter Number4
Number of Pages21
Year2017
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of PublicationHoundmills, United Kingdom
ISBN9783319569758
9783319569765
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56976-5_4
Web Address (URL)https://www.palgrave.com/de/book/9783319569758
Abstract

Nearly 17,000 Australians served in Iraq, but memories of this experience are far removed from the film and television representations such as American Sniper (2014), The Hurt Locker (2008), and Generation Kill (2008). For most Australians in Iraq the war was not one of constant fighting, and their marginal role caused angst for some Australian soldiers expecting to undertake direct combat action. Australians at home had few realistic frames of reference regarding war and soldiers, other than film. Many US films have been made about the war in Iraq; some of these have achieved distribution success in Australia and have been absorbed by Australian audiences. Yet these cinematic images watched by Australians were US-made, were about Americans and explored a US experience of war. This might have resonated and been appropriate for a US society that was intimately connected with this conflict, but was not appropriate for an Australia whose military role in Iraq was peripheral. Australian memories were less visceral and heroic, and the distorted cinematic images contribute to the ongoing dissonance and an unrealistic representation of Australia’s Iraq War.

Keywordswar; memory; film; war on terror; Iraq; military history
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020439999. Other history, heritage and archaeology not elsewhere classified
430302. Australian history
440804. Defence studies
470214. Screen and media culture
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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