Daniel Immerwahr

Dec 10, 2022

The Galactic Vietnam

Technology, Modernization, and Empire in George Lucas’s Star Wars

New Books Network 2022

In this episode I got to chat about two of my favorite things: the history of imperialism and Star Wars with Daniel Immerwahr, Professor of History at Northwestern University. Our conversation focused on his recent article “The Galactic Vietnam: Technology, Modernization, and Empire in George Lucas’s Star Wars,” in Ideology in U.S. Foreign Relations: New Histories, edited by David Milne and Christopher Nichols (Columbia University Press, 2022). In the piece her uses the film and the figure of George Lucas to explore various aspects of the United States in the Cold War. Were Ewoks the Viet Cong? Was the Death Star a B-52? Was Alderaan Hanoi? Listen and find out.

Daniel Immerwahr earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 2011 after undergraduate studies at both Columbia and Cambridge. His previous work includes Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development (Harvard, 2015) and the award winning and best-selling How to Hide an Empire: A Short History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), which has been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Korean, and Chinese so far. Dr. Immerwahr's writings have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, The New Republic, The Nation, Dissent, Jacobin, Slate, and elsewhere.

Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.

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Michael Vann

Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018). When he’s not reading or talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.

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