Cinema and Prosthetic Memory: The Case of the Korean War

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Judith Keene


This paper assesses the explanatory possibilities of the concept of prosthetic memory, with cinema as the enabler of popular understanding, when applied to the Korean War. The essay examines why it was that the conflict in Korea for many decades occupied a memory void and whether the explanations that have been offered for other similar “forgotten “wars are useful in relation to Korea. The analysis sugggests that cinema may be important in the formation of popular understanding but that there are serious analytical drawbacks in assuming that cinema can provide a window into popular mentalities.

Article Details

Fields of Remembrance Special Issue January 2010 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Judith Keene, University of Sydney

Judith Keene is an associate professor in history at The University of Sydney where she teaches twentieth century history, and film and history. She has written widely on wars and culture. Her latest book, Treason on the Airwaves: Three Allied Broadcasters on Axis Radio (Praeger, 2009) examines a British, an Australian, and a Japanese-American who were separately tried as traitors at the end of World War II. The present article is part of a larger research project on United Nations POWs in the Korean War.