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Ceremonial Storytelling

Ritual and Narrative in Post-9/11 US Wars

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Frank Usbeck

US society has controversially debated civil-military relationships and war trauma since the Vietnam War. Civic activists today promote Indigenous warrior traditions as role models for non-Native veteran reintegration and health care. They particularly stress the role of ritual and narrative for civil-military negotiations of war experience and for trauma therapy. Applying a cultural-comparative lens, this book reads non-Native soldiers’ and veterans’ life writing from post-9/11 wars as «ceremonial storytelling.» It analyzes activist academic texts, «milblogs» written in the war zone, as well as «homecoming scenarios.» Soldiers’ and veterans’ interactions with civilians constitute jointly constructed, narrative civic rituals that discuss the meaning of war experience and homecoming.

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7. Works Cited

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5000 Feet is the Best, directed by Omer Fast. Short Film, Drama. 30 min, 2011.

“About Women in the Military.” CaptainMolly.com – Women in the Military, November 3, 2012. http://web.archive.org/web/20121103185347/http://womeninthemilitary.military.com/about-captain-molly/.

Acton, Carol. Grief in Wartime: Private Pain, Public Discourse. New York: Palgrave, 2007.

Adsit, Chris. The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-Centered Solutions for Combat Trauma. Newport News: Military Ministry, 2007.

Alber, Jan, and Monika Fludernik. introduction to Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analyses, edited by Jan Alber and Monika Fludernik, 1–31. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010.

Altena, Marga M.A., Catrien D. Notermans, and Thomas Widlok. “Place, Action, and Community in Internet Rituals.” In Ritual, Media, and Conflict, edited by Ronald L. Grimes, Eric Venbrux, and Udo Simon, 133–63. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

“America at a Crossroads. Discussion Guide.” PBS America at a Crossroads, April 2007. http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/discussionguide/.

“America at a Crossroads. Operation Homecoming.” PBS America at a Crossroads. Accessed March 18, 2015. http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/show_operation_homecoming.html.

Anderson, Ben. “Modulating the Excess of Affect. Morale in a State of ‘Total War.’ ” In The Affect Theory Reader, edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth, 161–85. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

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