Lic. phil. Roland Seelentag


Biographical Note

Roland Seelentag graduated from the University of Zurich in English, Film Studies and Art History in May 2011 and is now a doctoral candidate at the English Department of the University of Zurich. He is currently working on a dissertation on the representation of the Vietnam War in 'low-culture' texts, supervised by Prof. Dr. Martin Heusser. The research for said dissertation deals with fundamental concepts of culture analysis and how they are implemented in these low-culture texts.

PhD Project: Scars and Stripes -­ Part II

In accordance with a broad and strongly associative reading of popular 'texts', explicitly or implicitly elaborating on the subject of the Vietnam War, this study targets to consolidate the perception that these 'low-­‐culture' texts are significant and meaningful in capturing and describing the American identity, and that not only at the time of their respective releases, but also on a more abstract, conceptual level. For this purpose, several identity-­‐sustaining concepts are presented, aligned and compared, in order to work out a supposed mode of operations. In addition, the selected texts will be studied with regard to their being a continuation of distinct American narratives, genres and (narrative) traditions, while simultaneously also constituting a differentiating innovation of these traditions, marking the point of upheaval as a consequence to the Vietnam War. In conclusion, these innovatively articulated and subversive portrayals of new American heroes signify the struggle of (and a possible solution for) the American culture to come to terms with the incisive national trauma of the Vietnam War.

Research Interests

American literature, (American) film, low-culture/pop-culture texts (blockbuster films, comics, Western, TV-shows, cartoons), Vietnam War, theories of identity, postmodernism

Conference Papers

November 2012. "Rambo - America's Body Kit for a New Action Hero." Precarious Bodies Doctoral Symposium, University of Zurich.