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Editing Trauma: The Ethics of Representing and Remembering War

February 12, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

photo collage by Hoang Nguyen

Join us for a moderated panel discussion on the ethics of working with images of trauma, inspired by Hoang Nguyen’s exhibit, Title Wanted: Reclaiming Images of the Vietnam War, on display through February 14th in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery.

Our collective memory often leans heavily on iconic photographs, and the Vietnam War produced more arresting and troubling images than any previous conflict. Nearly fifty years after the last U.S. helicopter departed from Saigon, a handful of photos shot by American press photographers for an American audience have become a global point of reference for the war.

These photos raise a host of questions about how we document and process individual stories into collective memory. How can we see these images in new ways, even after decades in the public eye? How do we consider the meaning of individuals’ traumas when they come to stand in for national ones? What responsibility do we have to alter or complicate the stories we tell through war photographs?

The Panel will feature:

Juliette Duara, Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke Law School. Prof Duara’s work focuses on issues of gender and human rights with a focus on Southeast Asia.

Christian Lentz, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and author of Contested Territory: Dien Bien Phu and the Making of Northwest Vietnam

Thomas Rankin, Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary Studies at Duke. Prof Rankin’s extensive body of photographic work centers chiefly on the American South.

Hoang Nguyen, 2020 MFA|EDA Candidate, will moderate the panel. Reception to follow in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery.


February 12, 2020
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm


The Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke, Room 101
1364 Campus Drive