War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities
University Park, IL —(ENEWSPF)—May 3, 2018
Contact: Rosemary Johnson
The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded just thirteen organizations Dialogues on the Experience of War grants, totaling $1.2 million. Governors State University (GSU) is honored to be among them, for the second year in a row, to continue providing opportunities for veterans and their families, through the study and discussion of important humanities sources, to think more deeply about issues raised by war and military service.
Professors Rosemary Johnsen and Andrae Marak from the GSU College of Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with GSU’s Veterans Resource Center, will conduct a multi-faceted program on “War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities.”
“These new NEH-supported projects deepen our understanding and appreciation of the traditions, values, and historical figures who have shaped our country,” said NEH Senior Deputy Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.
Johnsen, co-architect of the GSU program says, “The course and related events will explore representations of individual veterans’ memories of war, and also the broader public question of commemoration. What is the purpose of commemoration? Who is it for? Who gets to decide what forms it should take? The humanities sources–including poetry, fiction, film, visual art, memoirs, oral histories, and personal correspondence–provide an opportunity for veterans and non-veterans to share, learn, and discern meaning around war memory and commemoration.”
Last year, NEH awarded GSU $100,000 to bring veterans’ stories to the entire Governors State community through several on-campus programs built around an upper-level English course called “War, Trauma, and Humanities,” in which student-veterans served as discussion leaders for other students studying war-related literature and humanities.
The new program will recruit and train student-veterans to serve as supplemental instructors and small group discussion facilitators for a special topics course. Readings and discussions will focus on four wars, with the first half of the course covering World War I and the second half focusing on Vietnam, women in combat, and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict.
A day of campus programming observing the centenary of the end of WWI is planned for November 12, the Monday after Veterans Day. The day will include two different sessions featuring the students and student-veterans involved in the course, an on-campus visual arts exhibition, an expert speaker on World War I peace and peace-making (Justin Quinn Olmstead), a multi-disciplinary faculty panel, and a film screening. During the spring of 2019, multiple public forums will be offered to engage the community at large at venues including the Matteson Public Library, Prairie State College, Purdue University Northwest, and the Chicago Heights, Illinois VFW post. Visit Govst.edu/CASgrants for details on planned events.
Governors State University serves 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students with degree programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 35 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL and committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence while transforming student passion into lifelong purpose.
The “War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities” project is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.