Lauren  Mottle

Lauren Mottle

PhD Student

Summary: Analysing how the anti-war activism of active-duty soldiers and Vietnam-veterans reconfigured long-standing ‘truths’ about the relationship between soldiering, masculinity, citizenship and patriotism


My research examines the ways in which the GI and veteran anti-war movements during the Vietnam era reconfigured the relationship between soldiering, patriotism, masculinity and citizenship.  The ideal of the citizen-solider formed the foundation of American national identity prior to this period. Per this ideal, the highest patriotic duty of a male citizen was his unhesitating service in the armed forces in times of national crisis.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, however, increasing numbers of GIs and Vietnam veterans spoke out against the war.  These men reconfigured the connections between patriotism and unquestioning, obedient military service by speaking of their dissent against the war as courageous, patriotic, and reflective of American ideas.  As the war was critiqued by the very people charged with fighting it, the American public was encouraged to reconsider, on a national scale, the relationship between masculinity, patriotism, citizenship and soldiering.  

Importantly, there were racial dimensions to the reconfiguration of a patriotic masculine identity.  Black Power rhetoric rose alongside the GI movement, leading many black GIs to shape a counter-hegemonic masculinity and sense of patriotism that placed their racial identity over their national identity.  Additionally, my work focuses on the US South to demonstrate the far-reaching impact of this reconfiguration of the citizen-soldier.  Home to the majority of US Army bases, the South has a unique regional identity, in which martial patriotism plays a central role. My thesis explores the accompanying racial and regional dimensions of a redefinition of a patriotic masculine identity and American citizenship as a whole, through the activism and rhetoric of anti-war GIs and veterans. 

About Me

Originally from New Jersey, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in 2010 at Elon University in North Carolina.  After a few years in temporary teaching roles at the secondary school level, I completed my Master’s in American History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am currently in my third year of PhD study at Leeds.  I am supervised by Prof. Simon Hall and Dr Jessica Meyer and was previously supervised by Dr Say Burgin.

Awards and Prizes

2016 Friends of the University of Wisconsin Madison Libraries Grants to Scholars Award 

2016 University of Leeds Extraordinary Fund Award 

2016 British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Travel Award

2015 University of Leeds Postgraduate Travel Award 

2014 Preparing Future Faculty Assessment Award

2010 H.H. Cunningham Award in History 

Conference Papers 

'The Patriotism of Protest: Anti-war Soldiering and the Redefinition of the Citizen-Soldier during the Vietnam Era', Historians of the Twentieth Century United States Annual Postgraduate Conference, Northumbria University, September 2016 

'Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Cultivating the GI Movement in the Vietnam Era', Historians of the Twentieth Century United States Winter Symposium, University of Dundee, February 2016

'Why Can't We Be Friends?: Rethinking Multiracial Activism in the GI Movement and Second Wave Feminism', Collaborative Paper with Sabina Peck, British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Conference, University of Glasgow, December 2015 

'"I Fought in the Wrong War": The Vietnam War and the Black Freedom Movement at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University', Triangle African American History Colloquium, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, February 2014

'The Good and the Abhorrent Wars: Applying a Model for Student Protest to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill', National Conference for Undergraduate Research, University of Montana, May 2010 


Spring/Summer Terms 2016 - HIST 2351: American Century; HIST 1300: Primary Sources for the Historian 

Spring/Summer Terms 2016 - HIST 1300:Primary Sources for the Historian