May 2, 2018 at 7:55 am

Contemporary History Institute Gets NEH Grant for Veterans Program

With an $80,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities initiative “Dialogues on the Experience of War,” Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute will conduct a humanities-based program for veterans on campus and in the community in 2018-19.

OHIO’s program—”Coming Home from War: Conversations for Veterans in Southern Ohio and the Appalachian Region”—explores the effects of combat experiences, from coping with killing to survivor’s guilt; reintegration into society; coping with trauma, injuries, and disabilities; and coming home to an economically stressed region.

The Dialogues on the Experience of War grant program was created in 2015 as part of the Standing Together initiative, which emphasizes the innovative ways in which the humanities can engage military veterans and communities.

CHI director Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer, with the help of Dr. Nukhet Sandal, Associate Professor of Political Science and director of War and Peace Studies, and David Edwards, director of the Veterans and Military Student Services Center, assembled a team of 10 Ohio University faculty members and two external consultants who will conduct an interdisciplinary training program for undergraduate and graduate students in the fall semester. They will prepare eight to 10 students to lead conversation groups with veterans, who could be students or members of the Athens or regional communities, in the spring term.

“Themes include conceptions of masculinity, gender, and group identity; coping with traumas caused by combat and witnessing death and atrocities; and coping with the memory of killing. Sources include poetry, drama, tragedy, literature, film, and history. Prospective conversation group leaders will also read on critical context (psychology, sociology, communications, and media studies), in a training program led by faculty members from multiple disciplines. Veterans will be asked to consider in what ways these sources make them think differently about their own experiences or allow them to give voice to memories, emotions, and lingering effects of war,” Trauschweizer says.

“In spring 2019, we will offer public programming to complement the conversations series,” Trauschweizer adds. “This will, most likely, include a stage reading of “Theater of War,” screening of episodes or excerpts of the recent Ken Burns-Lynn Novick documentary on the Vietnam War, and a keynote talk toward the end of the semester.”


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