For the next National History Center and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Weekly History Seminar, Marilyn B. Young, Professor of History at New York University, analyzes “The Eternal Question of Counterinsurgency” on Monday, May 3, 2010 at the Wilson Center.
What are historians to make of the phrase made famous during the Vietnam war, “hearts and minds”? With the advantage of distance in time and the cooling of passions, it seems clear that the phrase reflected a tactic of counterinsurgency characteristic of the European colonial empires as well as the American attempt to find a solution to the war. The rediscovery of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan is not only a military tactic but also something that approaches an ideology—and something well worth discussing in the context of the war in Vietnam.
Marilyn Young is a graduate of Vassar and Harvard. Her books include The Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy, 1895–1901; The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990; and (with William G. Rosenberg) Transforming Russia and China: Revolutionary Struggle in the Twentieth Century. She also co-edited with Mark A. Bradley the first volume of the Center’s Reinterpreting History series, which is entitled Making Sense of the Vietnam War: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives.
This is part of the weekly history seminar that aims to facilitate the understanding of contemporary affairs in light of historical knowledge of all times and places, and from multiple perspectives. Click here to see a complete listing of the schedule of speakers and topics, as well as videos of the presentations.