Reenactment and/as Political Form: Winter Soldiers Then and Now

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In 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) testified to the on-the-ground realities of the War on Terror at “Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations.” “Winter Soldier II” (WSII), as the media called it, was modeled on the 1971 “Winter Soldier Investigation” (WSI) organized by Vietnam Veterans Against in the War (VVAW). As a reenactment of a New Left political form to make claims in and for the present, WSII demands that we draw parallels between “then” and “now” by making strategic use of the testimonial form introduced by VVAW in 1971. But it also reveals the critiques that can (and cannot) be made in and through this political form in 2008, given the particularities of the present. Examining the distinct deployments of discourses of gender and sexuality to critique the gendered logics of militarism “then” and “now,” reveals both their importance to VVAW members’ reappraisal of everyday life in cold-war America as well as their limits in making sense of the conditions of citizenship in the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAgôn: Revue des arts de la scène
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


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