Closing Discussion "The Future of Veterans Studies"
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Our conference theme for 2014 is Humanizing the Discourse, a title that speaks to a two-fold aim. We hope to foster increasingly sophisticated dialogue regarding veterans. This requires recognizing the individual humanity of people who can sometimes be turned into one-dimensional caricatures behind headlines, statistics, and stereotypes. In particular, this year we invited contributors to draw on the tools of the arts, humanities, and social sciences in addressing veterans’ issues and shaping policy. Theatre, film, and other narrative formats present rich possibilities for helping render and explicate the complexities of veterans’ experiences — not limited to those of U.S. veterans, nor exclusively those of post-2001 veterans — across historical and cultural contexts. In keeping with our consideration of the humanity of veterans and the variety of their circumstances, we also seek to broaden our discourse with questions such as, “Who ‘counts’ as a veteran?” “How have veterans themselves found — and made — meaning of their military and civilian experiences?” and “How are mixed civilian-military communities talking about veterans issues?” To engage such questions, in addition to traditional sessions featuring up-to-date research from contemporary scholars, we are highlighting a series of featured events.