Frank Usbeck (TU Dresden/Universität Leipzig) "Milblogs and the Tradition of Pop Culture in the US Military"
Thursday, 03.12.2015, 18:15 - 19:45 p.m., U11/00.16
In his lecture, Frank Usbeck will present his research on weblogs written by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These 'milblogs' stand in a long tradition of close interrelations between the US military and popular culture. From the birth of cinema around 1900, to the close ties between the military and Hollywood during World War Two, to war-related video games and social media, the US military has adopted new cultural expressions and practices and sought to utilize them in order to promote its narrative. At the same time, soldiers brought their formerly civilian cultural interests (such as music, sports, and films) into the military. This lecture will use milblogs as an example to illustrate how pop culture served both civil society and the military to influence and relate to each other.
Frank Usbeck studied American Studies, History, Journalism, and American Indian Studies at Leipzig University (Germany) and the University of Arizona. He currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow at TU Dresden. He earned his PhD in 2010; his thesis Fellow Tribesmen. The Image of Native Americans, National Identity, and Nazi Ideology in Germany won the Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies and was published in 2015. Frank Usbeck is now working on his postdoc project about the cultural work of ceremonial storytelling in American soldier weblogs (milblogs). He published essays on milblogging in two collections he co-edited, titled Participating Audiences, Imagined Public Spheres (2012), and Poetics of Politics: Textuality and Social Relevance in Contemporary American Literature and Culture (2015), as well as in the Journal of Military Experience and Zeitschrift für Anglistik/Amerikanistik. For more information, please visit his research blog at www.frankusbeck.net.