Abstract

This article examines the ways Vietnamese sniper women have been narrated and imagined in North America. Part nightmare, farce, icon, historical figure, and real person, the weaponized Vietnamese woman was a troubling figure to comprehend for US soldiers and the public alike. Navigating across historical, aesthetic, and performative texts, the article thinks through the different authorized narratives about this figure, and the queer futures made unintelligible in their making. It argues that liberal capitalism plays an important role in the determination of the relationship between past to present, and what may be imagined as possible, now and in the future. Vietnamese women soldiers during the US war in Vietnam (1955–1975) both frustrate and realize a queer Asian diasporic desire for historical ground on which to challenge racialized, gendered, and sexual epistemological regimes of the war. That is, while militant Vietnamese women were used as evidence of liberal capitalist logics, they also often failed to complete its fantasies, opening up important alternative and queer pasts—ones that inevitably fail to reach dominant conceptions post-Vietnam War presents, but also, for that very reason, critically arrive at an alternative modality for living in the present as a queer Asian and Vietnamese woman.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 136-160
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-12
Open Access
No
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