(Im)possible Futures: Liberal Capitalism, Vietnamese Sniper Women, and Queer Asian Possibility

Citation:

Ly, Lynn. 2017. “(Im)Possible Futures: Liberal Capitalism, Vietnamese Sniper Women, and Queer Asian Possibility.” Feminist Formations 29 (1): 136–60.

Author: Lynn Ly

Abstract:

This article examines the ways Vietnamese sniper women have been narrated and imagined in North America. Part nightmare, farce, icon, historical figure, and real person, the weaponized Vietnamese woman was a troubling figure to comprehend for US soldiers and the public alike. Navigating across historical, aesthetic, and performative texts, the article thinks through the different authorized narratives about this figure, and the queer futures made unintelligible in their making. It argues that liberal capitalism plays an important role in the determination of the relationship between past to present, and what may be imagined as possible, now and in the future. Vietnamese women soldiers during the US war in Vietnam (1955-1975) both frustrate and realize a queer Asian diasporic desire for historical ground on which to challenge racialized, gendered, and sexual epistemological regimes of the war. That is, while militant Vietnamese women were used as evidence of liberal capitalist logics, they also often failed to complete its fantasies, opening up important alternative and queer pasts--ones that inevitably fail to reach dominant conceptions post-Vietnam War presents, but also, for that very reason, critically arrive at an alternative modality for living in the present as a queer Asian and Vietnamese woman.

Keywords: liberal capitalism, militarism, queer Asian women, queer of color critique, time studies, transpacific studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Gender, Women, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Post-Conflict, Race, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2017

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