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Courtesy listing.  Veterans in Society conferences rotate among host institutions across North America under the auspices of the Veterans Studies Association. Between ViS conferences, we encourage you to contribute your ideas about research on veterans in society through the Veterans Studies Conference Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

On August 30, 2021, the United States withdrew its military forces from Afghanistan, marking the end of the longest war in American history. During the twenty-years of the Global War on Terror, about three million American service members engaged in post 9/11 war operations. American support for veterans and their families during this period was remarkably high. Admiral Michael Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referred to this support in 2010 as a “Sea of Goodwill.”

But much has happened since 2010 and particularly after the formal end of the Global War on Terrorism. Around the world, public attention has shifted away from veterans and towards other issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the War in Ukraine, and growing isolationist sentiment affecting all foreign policy initiatives. Will this shifting focus lead to an evaporation of the Sea of Goodwill?

The 2024 Veterans in Society conference, Tidal Changes in the "Sea of Goodwill," will explore whether and how changes in society mark an inflection point regarding the treatment and experiences of veterans in the U.S. and abroad. We invite scholars and policy professionals at all levels — including students and those outside of academia — to cross national, cultural, historical, and disciplinary boundaries to consider important turning points in a nation’s support for its veterans.


Call for papers




Conference dates:

   14-15 March 2024 (Thursday-Friday)


Proposals due:

   1 October 2023



  University of South Carolina

  Columbia, SC




Tidal Changes in the 'Sea of Goodwill'

​Session types
  • Individual presentations. Submit: 75-to 100-word abstract (including a title; title does not count against word count) and a 250-word proposal.

  • Panel presentation (3 presenters) or Roundtables (4 or more presenters). Submit: 150- to 200-word abstract (including a title; title does not count against word count), 750-word proposal including individual presenters’ topics (and titles) .

  • Poster. Submit: 75-100 word abstract (including a title; title does not count against word count) and a 250-word proposal.

  • Works-in-progress (a workshop session specifically for sharing/refining early-stage research and/or engagement projects with kindred scholars and potential collaborators). Submit: 500-word proposal (including a title; title does not count against word count; submissions will not undergo peer review).


Below you will find several sub-themes to consider as ways to contribute to the larger theme of the conference. These points of departure are designed to inspire, but not limit, possible submissions.

The conference hosts and proposal review team welcome submissions on topics outside the sub-themes but relevant to the multidisciplinary field of Veterans Studies.


Tidal changes in the 'sea of goodwill'
  • Empirically, what conditions have been conducive to creating and sustaining seas of good (or ill) will toward veterans, within and/or across countries or generations?

  • What does a sea of goodwill look and feel like? How do concepts like support or goodwill manifest in practice among veterans, military families, civilians, and elites that shape culture and politics? 

  • If there is a decrease in the Sea of Goodwill, what are the anticipated impacts (physical, psychological, economic, social, etc.) on veterans and their families?

  • Considering the emerging field of veterans studies, what pedagogical and administrative efforts are or should be utilized to sustain and grow the field through anticipated changes in the Sea of Goodwill?


Effects of changes in a nation’s military on its veterans … and vice-versa
  • In what respects are civilians’ attitudes and behaviors toward veterans entangled with their attitudes toward a country’s military and its potential use?  

  • What are the consequences of being a veteran whose service was on the (perceived) losing or morally-wrong side of a conflict?

  • When paradigms shift in military mission, doctrine, technology, and the makeup of the force, what effects are experienced by veterans and their families?


Veterans in the collective consciousness
  • How do literary, media, and popular culture representations of veterans influence dynamic public opinion about veterans?

  • How do memorials/monuments commemorating the military service of one era/allegiance shape civilian attitudes about veterans of other eras/allegiances? What do they teach veterans or currently serving military?

  • How can emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality be harnessed to support veterans and their families? How can these technologies help raise awareness about military/veteran experiences among civilians?


Comparative experiences of veterans
  • How do the experiences of veterans in societies across the globe compare to each other? What potential reasons are there for similarities and differences?

  • What aspects of military/veteran experience can enrich understanding of the successes and challenges of marginalized veterans?

  • How can a clearer understanding of veterans’ experiences in previous generations provide us with lessons or insights about veterans’ position in society today?   

  • If American veterans face a watershed moment in public and private support, what moments from past “turning points” in US military history can provide value, insight, or understanding about today and the potential future?

Conference scope

The Veterans Studies Association believes that the category, veteran, must be approached critically, inclusively, and comparatively. We support theoretical, humanistic, and empirical studies covering military and former military personnel and their families of all identities, from the time they contemplate living outside the military, across their lifespans as they navigate civilian norms and lifeways.

We especially encourage scholarship that highlights the experiences of marginalized people, including women, LGBTQ+ people, members of racial/ethnic/religious minority groups, refugees and immigrants, whose “veteran-ness” has been contested or obscured by dominant narratives of who "counts" as a veteran.

We also invite work that uses the category of veteran as a way of interrogating the experiences of warriors-come-home across temporal, geographical, and cultural boundaries, including those outside the modern, Western system of nation-states and permanent, state-sponsored military establishments.

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).


Submissions must be emailed to by October 1, 2023 (11:59 p.m. PT). Your title, abstract, and proposal should be in a single file. File types should be limited to .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf files (please no .pdf or .pages files).


Files must be formatted for blind review: no author names, affiliations, or other personally identifiable information. Please respect word counts for desired session type (see above “session types”).  Provide contact information, and proposal title, in your email cover letter.

Important dates
  • Submissions open: June 1, 2023

  • Proposal deadline: October 1, 2023

  • Notification regarding acceptance: Mid-November 2023

  • To assure adequate space and refreshments for all attendees, please register before February 15, 2024.



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


#VIS2024 is a project of

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