|Semester and Year||FA 2012|
|Time||12:30 PM - 1:45 PM|
Open to Gallatin first-year students only.
What happens to soldiers and to society when war is over and troops come home? How are soldiers and soldiering represented and understood by civilians? Do these views square with how soldiers see themselves? In this writing seminar we will explore the long and fraught history of military-civilian relations. We will begin by analyzing excerpts from literary works by Homer, Shakespeare, and First World War poets, in order to understand how our cultural perceptions of returning combatants are constructed, in terms either of heroism, adventure, sex appeal, and political authority, or of trauma, alienation, and victimization. We will then examine literary, historical, and sociological accounts of the return of American soldiers from Vietnam, in order to analyze the lasting impact of the war on U.S. culture and politics. Case studies will include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., literature and films such as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried , as well as historical accounts of the role of veterans in 1960’s anti-war and civil rights movements. Students will write several shorter essays and a longer critical essay that investigates an issue relevant to the relationship between military and civilian society since World War Two, such as the impact of the GI Bill(s), the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, or the role of online social networks in mediating soldiers’ experiences and memories. For final reflective essay, you will be asked either to contact and interview a veteran or to review a recent work by a veteran author.
First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)