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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

Points of departure


If you are interested in a range of works that raise questions and suggest approaches to veterans studies, you may wish to read/watch/listen to some of the following works and/or ponder reflection questions.  Participants in this institute will contribute to and refine a larger bibliography.  You might also be interested in the proceedings of our Veterans in Society conferences.

*American Sniper. Dir. Clint Eastwood. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2015.

Bad Day at Black Rock.  Dir John Sturges. 1954. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2005.

Blumenthal, Michael. “The Things They Still Carry: A Post-Vietnam Story.” Agni 38 (1993): 146–171. [Access restricted to affiliates of JSTOR-subscribing institutions.]

*Donaldson, Walter. "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm? (After they've seen Paree)?" 1919.  Sound recording.

Dubinsky, James,  Eric Hodges, Bruce Pencek, et al. “Closing Discussion: The Future of Veterans Studies."  Proceedings of 2d Annual Veterans in Society Conference. Roanoke, VA, May 29, 2014.

Heard, Barry.  “Memories of Vietnam.”  Verbatim.  Broadcast Oct 25, 2010.  (Cf. his longer talk with the same title, presented to La Trobe University’s “Australians at War”course. Sept 26, 2011.  La Trobe University Australian History podcast series, #36 )

Hodges, Eric.  "The Moral Injury of War."  TEDxVirginiaTech,   November 9, 2013.

*Homer. Iliad. (translation of your choice)

---. Odyssey. (translation of your choice)

*Marten, James. America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014. 

*---. Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

*National Broadcasting Company. “The Veteran Comes Back,” Words at War, episode 63. Broadcast Sept. 5, 1944. .

NPR.  “Veterans and Other-than-Honorable Discharges.”  Special series.  Broadcast Dec. 8-13, 2013. .

Phillips, Colyn.  “Pension for Soldiers’ Widows: Congressional Attitudes During the 19th Century.  Readex Report 1(4), 2006.

Russell, Frances.  "Preface."  In Russell, Reese M., and Frances Russell. 1918. "Transcription of diary of Sgt. Reese Melvin Russell, with memoir and notes by his daughter Frances Russell." Washington, DC: Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

*Shay, Jonathan. Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming. New York: Scribner, 2002.

*Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. “Coming Home: Veterans in America,” BackStory with the American History Guys. Broadcast Nov. 11, 2011.

*Whitfield, Donald H., ed. Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian. Chicago: Great Books Foundation, 2013.  [Pending specific pre-institute assignments, read at least six selections of your choice and be ready to bring them into the discussion on the first day.]

Wright,  James. Those Who Have Borne the Battle: a History of America's Wars and those who Fought Them. New York: PublicAffairs, 2012.

*Accepted participants will be asked to have engaged with highlighted works (or excerpts to be assigned in the syllabus) before arriving and to share reflections on this work on the first day of the institute.  The institute will reimburse participants for up to $40/person for expenses in getting copies of  highlighted readings so that participants may prepare for the first few sessions.  Copies of  later required readings will be made available to participants.  In addtion, copies of required books will be on reserve in Newman Library for participants who wish to read beyond excerpts.  For the duration of the institute, participants will have full online access to the library's databases, e-journals, and e-books, along with borrowing privileges in the print and media collection.

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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