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Home » News » Introducing Dr. Mallory Nanny

Introducing Dr. Mallory Nanny

Published December 28, 2023

Congratulations to Mallory Nanny, who defended her dissertation “(Re)Framing Memory: Stories of the Vietnam War in Contemporary American Art” under the direction of Dr. Karen Bearor in the fall of 2023. In the spring of 2023, Mallory joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, where she teaches Contemporary Art History, Arts & Society, and Art of the Cold War.

Dr. Nanny’s dissertation examines An-My Lê’s Small Wars (1999 – 2002), Jessica Hines’s My Brother’s War (2006-2020), and Tiffany Chung’s Remapping History: an autopsy of a battle, an excavation of a man’s past (2015 – 19) as case studies of photo-based works that reconstruct fragmented memories into narratives of the Vietnam War. These works illustrate the underrepresented experiences of Vietnamese refugees and the family members of US veterans, thus necessitating a dialogue-driven and collaborative methodology to analyze them. Uniting narratology with memory studies into a conceptual framework, Nanny advances the study of artistic engagements with storytelling in art historical scholarship. More specifically, she addresses the narrative potential of photography as a globally circulating medium that embodies personal and public memory. Although Lê, Hines, and Chung produce narratives full of gaps, which, as Nanny claims, betray the war’s losses, each artist uses the photographic medium to reclaim the war narrative.

Mallory’s advisors describe Mallory’s great commitment to her research and contributions to the field. Dr. Bearor writes, “Her approach to the subject has been innovative, and her work promises to make a significant contribution to the study of the art of the Vietnamese diaspora in the U.S.” Committee member Dr. Adam Jolles adds:

Mallory’s dissertation explored dynamic new terrain within the discipline—contemporary artists working primarily with photography to examine their own memories of traumatic family experiences dating to the Vietnam War. Mallory deftly threaded a path through disparate images of historical reenactments, personal documents, and family members. Despite her seemingly narrow focus, her research has broad, topical relevance to any number of different global contexts.

As a doctoral candidate, Mallory was awarded the Luce/ACLS Ellen Holtzman Fellowship in American Art for the 2020-2021 academic year. Her research in Viet Nam during the fall of 2022 was supported by the Penelope Mason Dissertation Fellowship. Mallory also received the Patricia Rose Teaching Fellowship as well as various conference travel grants through the Department of Art History and the Congress of Graduate Students at Florida State University.