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Archived page.  This conference was cancelled in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. View its detailed program and its successor "Conversations in Veterans Studies" online symposium. Between ViS conferences, we encourage you to contribute your ideas about research on veterans in society through the Veterans Studies Conference Group on Facebook.

On the move ...  ViS 2020 heads to St. Louis

Interest in the Veterans in Society initiative has grown enough for Virginia Tech and our institutional partners to put the ViS Conferences on a biennial schedule and rotate locations, creating new opportunities for participating and new perspectives to discover.  The 2020 conference will be hosted by our friends at the University of Missouri-St Louis.


Veteran Identity, Advocacy, and Representation


Call for papers




Conference dates:

   22-24 March 2020 (Sunday-Tuesday)


Proposals due:

   4 November 2019



  JC Penney Conference Center

       at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

  1 University Blvd.

  St. Louis, MO  63121




For 2020, the VIS conference invites scholars in the social sciences, humanities, and arts to cross national, cultural, historical, and disciplinary boundaries to address the theme of “Veteran Identity, Advocacy, and Representation.” 

The conference is a forum for scholars – including students and professionals working outside academia – to present work that speaks to the varieties and complexities of veterans' interactions with their larger societies.  The scope is not restricted to any country, any era, any degree of peace or war – and certainly not to any one conception of “veteran.”



  • What are some of the key differences/similarities among combat veterans, veterans who served in the military during wartime but did not deploy, and peacetime veterans?

  • What are some of the key differences/similarities among military veterans and civilians who become first responders such as police officers and firefighters?

  • How might veteran identity affect electability? Do veterans in elected office demonstrate distinctive styles of political behavior and/or lead to distinctive political outputs?

  • Are veterans more similar to other veterans across national/historic/geographic borders than they are to their civilian counterparts? What are ways we are bridging or widening the veteran-civilian divide?

  • How have societies (in the USA or globally, now or historically) encountered, internalized, and/or challenged veterans’ identities?

  • How effective, and in what form, is or has been, advocacy for education, employment, health, and well-being for veterans and their families? Is the support provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sufficient to meet the needs of veterans and their families? If not, how are veterans advocates filling those gaps?

  • What are some of the revitalized and/or creative new forces advocating for veterans with PTS and moral injury?

  • What are the motivations, modalities, and implications for veterans who continue to serve other veterans and/or their wider civilian communities after taking off the uniform?

  • In what ways, how intensively, and for what causes do/have veterans engage/d in civil society/public affairs? In what respects is their engagement different from civilians with similar demographics? In what respects are engaged veterans more similar to other veterans across national or historical boundaries than they are to their civilian counterparts?

  • Who are veterans; how well are veterans who served in peacetime understood and/or represented in scholarship, creative arts, and culture?

  • How does/has gender stereotyping and/or mis- and under-representation of minorities (i.e., racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality) affect/ed societies, cultural understanding, individual understanding, research, policy, etc.?

  • How are veterans changing—how have they changed—popular narratives within military and civilian cultures?

  • How have veterans’ interactions with their communities been represented in literature, drama, and cinema, including works that are not overtly about veterans?

​Session types

We encourage and are open to a variety of presentation styles, including but not limited to:

  • Individual presentations: 75- to 100-word abstract suitable for use in conference program, 250-word proposal  

  • Panel presentation, with 3 to 4 presenters: 150- to 200-word abstract, 750-word proposal including potential panelists

  • Poster presentations, by individual or collaborative presenters (1 poster per submission): 150- to 200-word abstract

  • Roundtable discussion, with 4 or more presenters: 150- to 200-word abstract, 500-word proposal

  • Works-in-progress: back by popular demand, we have scheduled a workshop session specifically for sharing and refining early-stage research and/or engagement projects with kindred scholars and potential collaborators: 500-word proposal (works-in-progress submissions will not undergo peer review)

Submission guidelines

All submissions should conform to a widely accepted citation style that will be intelligible to an interdisciplinary audience (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).


Unless otherwise noted above (under session type), proposals must include:

  • a cover letter providing contact information for the author(s), title, and format of the proposed work, 

  • a brief abstract suitable for use in the conference program, and

  • a more detailed proposal outlining the nature and contribution of the work you intend to present

Abstracts and detailed proposals must attached in a separate file (or  mailed on a sheet of paper) from the cover letter and formatted for blind review: no author names, affiliations, or other personally identifiable information. Please respect word counts for abstracts by desired session type.

Submit proposals to VIS20@UMSL.EDU.

Important dates
  • Submissions open: June 1, 2019

  • Proposal deadline: November 4, 2019

  • Notification regarding acceptance: Early December 2019

  • To assure adequate space and refreshments for all attendees, please register before March 6, 2020.



Information about fees, hotels, and the like will be posted on the Veterans Studies Association's conference site.


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