In the far country: Time, eternity, and memory after the Vietnam War
This dissertation develops a theological articulation of memory. In particular, I convey how Christians might remember the Vietnam War and how the conceptual lenses of time and eternity help us imagine what we are doing when we remember. Figured without eternity, time becomes desperate and emptied of truthful memory. In contrast, a Trinitarian vision of time and eternity conceptualizes time as the relation between temporal creatures and the eternal God such that time is made for memory as the proleptic performance of eternal worship. The argument ensues in two parts: first, an account of time and eternity (PART I); second, an account of memory and the Vietnam War (PART II); each part includes three chapters.
In Chapter 1, I draw on the Christian account of kenosis in order to interpret the Americans in Vietnam as time forlorn of eternity, that is, human being without God as the source of being.
In Chapter 2, I offer an alternative to temporal violence: authentic temporal existence, faithfulness that enacts Jesus' will-to-humility in contradistinction to the temporal city's will-to-dominance.
In Chapter 3, I make four claims about time and eternity, claims which serve as the ontological lens through which this dissertation theorizes memory and the Vietnam War.
In Chapter 4, I discuss narrative and relate how the past returns narrated, where discordance finds concordance by way of mimesis. I argue that God's forgiveness comes as the gift of new stories.
In Chapter 5, I suggest that memory re-presents the past through habituated bodies. I contrast the military's anti-liturgy of "killology" with the Church's liturgy where God acts on time and bodies that killed in Vietnam.
Finally, in Chapter 6, I culminate my arguments by portraying the Church as the politics necessary to re-member the Vietnam War. Over against circumscribed national memory, I point to radical mnemonic practices and describe the Church as a politics that re-members the disappeared.
0615: Political science