March 27, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Baker Peace | Panel on Commitment of Ground Troops in Vietnam, March 27

The 2015 Baker Peace Conference on “The Vietnam War: A Fifty-Year Retrospective” on March 26 and 27.

A panel on The Military Commitment of Troops is Friday, March 27,  at 10 a.m. in Nelson Commons.

The panel features:

  • Moderator – Dr. Clarence Wyatt, Monmouth College
  • Dr. George C. Herring, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Meredith Lair, George Mason University
  • Dr. Chester Pach, Ohio University

Clarence Wyatt is the president of Monmouth College. He came to Monmouth from Centre College, where he was Chief Planning Officer and Special Assistant to the President and the holder of the Pottinger Distinguished Professorship of History. Wyatt received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky. In 2000 and 2012, when Centre hosted nationally televised vice presidential debates, Wyatt co-chaired the committees that directed the events. Starting in 2000, Wyatt served as the election night commentator for the ABC television affiliate in Lexington, Ky., but it is the issue of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War in which Wyatt has most distinguished himself as a scholar. He is the author of Paper Soldiers: The American Press and the Vietnam War, an acclaimed book about U.S. press coverage of the war. He co-edited “The Vietnam Era,” a digital collection of essays and primary sources, and has contributed chapters and essays to several collections on the Vietnam War. Most recently, he co-edited “Media and Propaganda in Wartime America,” a two-volume encyclopedia. Wyatt has spoken at conferences on a wide variety of topics related to American politics, diplomacy, journalism, and the Vietnam War. In 2010, he was the session keynote speaker at the Conference on War, Journalism, and History, co-sponsored by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Kentucky. A Fulbright Fellowship recipient in 2012, Wyatt taught Vietnamese and U.S. history at Hanoi University and conducted research for a book on the shared histories of the U.S. and Vietnam since 1975.

George C. Herring is Alumni Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Kentucky. A native of Blacksburg, VA, he received a B.A. degree from Roanoke College, and after service in the U.S. Navy earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Virginia. He began his teaching career at Ohio University and in 1969 joined the University of Kentucky faculty. At UK, he served three terms as department chair. He was acting director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy in 2005.  A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, his writing has focused on the Vietnam War and includes America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (5th ed., 2013)  His book, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776, was published in 2008 in Oxford University Press’s History of the United States series.  He has received grants from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and served as visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, and the University of Richmond.

Meredith Lair is an associate professor in the Department of History & Art History at George Mason University. Her first book, Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War (University of North Carolina Press, 2011), examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam and finds that the U.S. military relied heavily on consumerism and material abundance to maintain soldier morale, a phenomenon that continues to the present day. Her current research projects also consider the culture and legacies of the Vietnam War, including examination of Vietnam veteran commemorative sites around the country and the official regulations and cultural inhibitions that governed how American soldiers used their cameras. Lair recently served as the Minerva Research Fellow at the United States Naval Academy. Her teaching interests include war and American society, post-1945 U.S. social and cultural history, the Vietnam War, and historical methods. She also developed content and wrote the exhibit script for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation’s Vietnam Era Educational Center, the first permanent museum about the Vietnam War in the United States.

Chester Pach specializes in the history of U.S. foreign relations and recent U.S. history. His research has focused on U.S. involvement in the Cold War and the Vietnam War as well as the Eisenhower, Johnson, and Reagan presidencies. He has a particular interest in television coverage of international issues and the intersections between politics, popular culture, and international history. He is completing The Presidency of Ronald Reagan in the American Presidency Series for the University Press of Kansas. He is also writing a book titled The First Television War: TV News, the White House, and Vietnam. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation, and the Baker Fund of Ohio University to support his research and writing.

More Baker Peace Conference Events

The keynote speaker Dr. Fredrik Logevall opens the conference with “Embers of War: The Meaning of the Vietnam War on Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Baker 240/242. Read more.

On Friday, March 27, the conference continues in Nelson Commons with three discussion panels focused on important topics related to the Vietnam War.

  • The first panel, “The Commitment of Ground Troops,”convenes at 10 a.m. with Dr. George Herring, University of Kentucky, Dr. Meredith Lair, George Mason University, and Dr. Chester Pach, Ohio University.
  • The 1 p.m. panel, “War and Social Change” features Dr. Andrew Johns, Brigham Young University, Dr. Penny Lewis, City University of New York, and Dr. Kevin Mattson, Ohio University.
  • The final panel convenes at 3 p.m. and focuses on “The International Context” with Dr. Pierre Asselin, Hawai’i Pacific University, Dr. Mark Atwood Lawrence, University of Texas, and Dr. Lien-Hang Nguyen, University of Kentucky.

The Baker Peace Conference is sponsored by the Baker Peace Studies Program and the Contemporary History Institute. All events are free and open to the public.

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