More than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for and presumed dead from the Vietnam War, and for their families, the war is not truly over until they come home. Advances in forensic science are now making it possible to identify and repatriate remains from the merest trace, renewing the hopes of military families in locating their missing.
As Elliott School Professor Sarah Wagner shows in her new book, the possibility of such homecomings compels the living to wrestle anew with their memories, the weight of their loved ones’ sacrifices, and what it means to fight and die on behalf of their nation.
Professor Wagner is a social anthropologist who previously studied the forensic efforts to identify victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Her research focuses on war and memory; nationalism; biotechnology and forensic science; post-conflict social reconstruction; forced migration and diaspora; interventionism; and military culture.
What Remains is published by Harvard University Press. Professor Wagner will be hosting a book talk at Politics and Prose on January 22nd, 2020, and another lecture on the same topic at the Elliott School on March 2nd, 2020. Please visit our Research page for forthcoming details on the lecture.