This essay argues that forces of globalization have changed how American combatants define their identities within and against a foreign environment. Building on notions that soldiers construct identity by rendering foreign landscapes as Other, this piece considers how familiarity within the combat zone traumatically destabilizes the attempts to delineate self and enemy. This essay examines textual and film representations of the first and second Gulf Wars, highlighting the increasing presence of anatopisms—items jarringly dislocated from their proper “expected” spaces. Focusing particularly on Evan Wright’s Generation Kill, this piece investigates the consequences of American soldiers’ encounters with the global familiar—goods and spaces within the war zone that unsettle distinctions due to the homogenizing forces of the global market. Encounters with the global familiar, the essay argues, may lead to new acts of solidarity between combatants, but they also hold the potential to compound the traumas of combat and produce new acts of violence.
Brian J. Williams; The Desert of Anatopism: War in the Age of Globalization. American Literature 1 June 2015; 87 (2): 359–385. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2886163
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