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2016 NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers

Veterans in Society:

Ambiguities & Representations

10-29 July 2016


Blacksburg, VA,   and   Washington, DC


Cadre: 3/4

Donna Musil

is an American documentary filmmaker, writer and activist exploring the subculture of U.S. military brats. She wrote and directed the award-winning 2006 documentary Brats: Our Journey Home,, a film about growing up the child of a military family and the effect it has on that child's adult life. She is also the founder of Brats Without Borders, a nonprofit organization dedicating to increasing awareness, celebration and support for military brats and other third culture children. Kris Kristofferson narrates the feature-length documentary, which features interviews with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, author Mary Edwards Wertsch, psychotherapist Stephanie Donaldson Pressman, and numerous other adult brats, aged 20 to 70.

The film has been screened in over 100 locations around the United States, and at 21 film festivals, winning five awards. Musil is also a journalist and attorney by trade. An expert in the field of military brat studies, Musil  speaks on the topic with a variety of audiences, including current and adult brats, military, educational, corporate, and mental health care professionals. Visit my website.

Heidi Nobles

is a writer, editor, and scholar specializing in editorial history, theory, and praxis. She spent a year studying at Virginia Tech, during which time she joined the Veterans Studies research group. She co-chaired the 2014 Veterans in Society conference and has worked on editing all of the ViS conference proceedings. She holds an MA in English literature from Baylor University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of South Carolina; she is currently completing her PhD in rhetoric and composition at Texas Christian University. Her forthcoming book, currently titled Stories We Didn’t Know to Tell: A Collective Memoir from a Lost Tribe, explores key moments in world history from the perspective of adults who grew up around the globe as military children. Her creative and scholarly work appears or is forthcoming in journals including Scholarly Editing, the South Atlantic Review, Computers and Composition Online, WLN Journal, Welter, and Relief.

Benjamin Busch

is an actor, writer, director, producer, and photographer. He was born in Manhattan and grew up in rural central New York state. Following his graduation from Vassar College he served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps deploying for two combat tours in Iraq. His written work has been published in Harper's, and was notable in the 2010 Best American Essays anthology. His photographs have been featured in Five Points, Connecticut Review, Photography Quarterly, and War, Literature, & the Arts. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. His first film, Sympathetic Details, came out in 2008 winning numerous international film awards, and his new film as writer/director, BRIGHT, was released in January 2011.


Edward Fox

holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Cornell University, and a B.S. from M.I.T. Since 1983 he has been at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI&SU or Virginia Tech), where he serves as Professor of Computer Science. He directs the Digital Library Research Laboratory and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. He was an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association and was Chair (now a member) of the ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries Steering Committee. He has been (co)PI on over 117 research and development projects. In addition to his courses at Virginia Tech, Dr. Fox has taught over 80 tutorials in more than 28 countries. He has given more than 65 keynote, banquet, international invited or distinguished speaker presentations, over 200 refereed conference/workshop papers, and over 460 additional presentations.  Visit my website.

Amanda French

is Director of Digital Research Services and Associate Professor at Virginia Tech University Libraries, where I am helping to build digital humanities infrastructure and running the institutional repository, VTechWorks.   I consider myself a member of the community known as the digital humanities,” which means that I think hard about how the study of literature, history, language, art, and philosophy has been and is being and might be changed by computers and the Internet. My particular expertise consists of making humanities content (both cultural content and scholarly interpretation of that content) openly available online, as well as introducing scholars to the various methods of and issues with making humanities content openly available online. I often speak and sometimes write about Open Access, the scholarly publication landscape, Omeka, Scalar,, THATCamp, the Digital Public Library of America, Wikipedia, and alternative careers for humanities PhDs. My current research project is an online catalog of Edna St. Vincent Millay's personal library.   Visit my website.

Tyler Walters

is Dean, University Libraries, and Professor, Virginia Tech. He is a 2009-10 Research Libraries Leadership Fellow of the Association of Research Libraries. Walters serves on the board of directors of DuraSpace, the Educopia Institute, and is a governing board member of the Academic Preservation Trust. He is a co-founder of the Library Publishing Coalition, a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Digital Curation, and has previously served on the steering committee of the Coalition of Networked Information (CNI). In 2013, Walters completed a Ph.D. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. His research focuses on changes in knowledge creation and production in research universities. Currently, Walters is active as the founding director of SHARE – the Shared Access Research Ecosystem initiative, a joint undertaking of the AAU, APLU, and the Association of Research Libraries - which  is building a free and open dataset on research activity across its lifecycle.  View his university profile.

Institute faculty:  1  2  3  4

The Veterans in Society: Ambiguities and Representations 2016 summer institute for college faculty is a project of
Virginia Tech's Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society and the University Libraries.  

The 2016 Veterans in Society summer institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this the institute or this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities nor Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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