The 3rd annual Veterans in Society (ViS) Conference took place 12-14 November, following Veterans Day 2015, at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. Here is the program. You also can download a program for Speed Killed My Cousin.

Theme: “Veterans in Society: Race and/or Reconciliation.”

- Thursday Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Marten, Marquette University, author of several books about veterans, to include America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014).
- Friday Luncheon Speaker: Secretary, John C. Harvey, Jr., Admiral, U.S. Navy, (RET.), Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, Commonwealth of Virginia.
-Theater Event–Friday night at 8 pm: Speed Killed My Cousin (playwright Linda Parris-Bailey just received a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award). Program
-Saturday Plenary Speaker: Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried
-Saturday panel focusing on the symbolism and legacy of the Confederate Battle Flag, featuring John Coski, director of the Museum of the Confederacy, and Wornie Reed, director of VT’s Race and Social Policy Research Center.

The third annual Veterans in Society conference is an interdisciplinary event featuring speakers from seven disciplines. The conference schedule is available here.

As we noted last year, the topic of veterans’ reintegration into society has been challenging for governments and civilian society. Reintegration and reconciliation are intimately linked. Many of the deepest and most lasting wounds of war are a result of clashes between racial and ethnic groups, clashes that often do not fit Western conventions of what war is – and thus of who and what veterans are, what they need, and what they can offer after fighting has dropped from headlines. As a case study, the American Civil War provides a particularly powerful point of departure from which to explore veterans’ experiences with reconciliation when deep social divisions such as race and ethnicity cut across other sources of identity, notably shared military experiences.

Guest Speaker: Dr. James Marten, Marquette University, author of

- America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014).
- Children and Youth during the Civil War Era. Editor. (New York: New York University Press, 2012).
- Sing Not War: Civil War Veterans in Gilded Age America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011). Alternate Selection, History Book Club.

Theater Event: Speed Killed My Cousin — watch trailer

Hosted by the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society (CSRS), the Virginia Tech University Libraries, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention (CPSVP), the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, the Race and Public Policy Center, and the Virginia Tech Center for the Arts, all at Virginia Tech.

Current sponsors include the VT Center for the Arts; the VA Center for Civil War Studies; the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH); the VT University Libraries; the Office of the Provost; the VT Graduate School; the VT College of Architecture and Urban Studies; the VT College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS); the VT College of Natural Resources and Environment; the VT Pamplin College of Business; the VT Office of Inclusion and Diversity; the VT Office of Human Resources; the VT Office of Student Affairs; the VT Institute for Policy and Governance; the VT Student Success Center; the VT Veterans Caucus; the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention; the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement; the Race and Social Policy Research Center; the Virginia Tech departments of English, History, and Sociology; Women’s and Gender Studies Program; Student Veterans at VT (Vets@VT); the regional chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA); the Department of English’s Distinguished Alumni Board (DAB); the National Security Research Thrust (ICTAS); and Radford University’s McConnell Library.

Recent Submissions

  • Heal: An Experience Report 

    Williamson, Richard A. (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    For over ten years I have been learning about life with a son who experiences Post- Traumatic Stress. My experiences with both the roadblocks and the resources from my adventure into this realm of the unknown have led me ...
  • Race and/or Reconciliation : Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Veterans in Society 

    VT Veterans Studies Group; Dubinsky, James M.; Pencek, Bruce; Davitt, Marcia; Catherwood-Ginn, Jon; Quigley, Paul; Reed, Wornie; Fields, Cynthia; Grady, Judy; Jones, Cheryl; Karnes, Daniel; Stevers, Tammy; Miller, COL John; Morse, Patricia; Sandoz, Elizabeth; Waalkes, Ruth; Hart, D. Alexis; Williamson, Richard A.; Lembcke, Jerry; Kennedy, John C.; Hepburn, Sharon A. Roger; Musil, Donna; Price, Stuart V.; Giguere, Joy M.; Duffey, Suellynn; Grant, Lenny; Craig, Jim; Grohowski, Mariana; Dahlstrand, Kate; Gunsallus, April L.; Nobles, Heidi; Davitt, Marcia; Virginia Tech. Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society (Virginia Tech, 2016)
    The Veterans in Society (ViS) research group is proud to present the proceedings of the Third Conference on Veterans in Society: Race and/or Reconciliation, with papers that represent a wide range of research and community ...
  • Some were free born. Some were fugitives. Some were slaves. Now they were all veterans. 

    Hepburn, Sharon A. Roger (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    This essay centers on the soldiers of the 102nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI), originally organized in August 1863 as the First Michigan Colored Infantry, the only all-black regiment organized in the state and one ...
  • War Trauma in the Construction of American Lost-war Culture: From WWI to Vietnam and the Present 

    Lembcke, Jerry (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    The war veteran suffering Shell Shock is one of the most enduring images of twentieth century war. Among 21st century media pundits and even some medical professionals, however, few are aware that Shell Shock was largely ...
  • Models of the Post-Racial World? Rhetorics of Race among U.S. Military Brats 

    Nobles, Heidi (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    The U.S. military has long been claimed as a model for racial integration, having been integrated by executive order before the general population; significantly, too, the military is constantly shuffling but organized by ...
  • Race, Civil War Memory, and Sisterhood in the Woman's Relief Corps 

    Kennedy, John C. (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    This paper explores the intersections of race and the public remembrances of the American Civil War in the Woman's Relief Corps (WRC), auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). It specifically examines the role ...
  • Veteran Status and Work in Deadly Civilian Jobs: Are Veterans More Likely to Be Employed in High-Risk Occupations than Nonveterans? 

    Gunsallus, April L. (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    The demand for workers in high-risk occupations is growing, as is the number of service members transitioning from military to civilian jobs. This paper will address whether veterans are more likely to hold physically ...
  • MILITARY BRATS: A Living Study in Race Relations 

    Musil, Donna (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    In 1948, President Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9981, desegregating the United States military. Much has been written about the Order's effect on soldiers; almost none about the powerful effect it has had on generations ...
  • Local Military Matters: Bridging the Military-Civilian Gap through College-Community Interactions 

    Hart, D. Alexis (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    The call for papers for the 3rd annual Veterans in Society Conference included a statement made by President Ruscio of Washington & Lee University in which he wondered "whether people with different backgrounds, different ...
  • The Church: One of the First Military Veterans Organizations 

    Price, Stuart V. (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Today, the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes well over 100 military veteran organizations including the American Legion, American Veterans (AMVETS), Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign ...
  • Bounding Veterans Studies: A Review of the Field 

    Craig, Jim (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Over the past decade, the amount of research and teaching concerning veterans has proliferated to a point where some believe there is an academic discipline of Veterans Studies. Assuming this is correct, what is Veterans ...
  • Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram. War, Writing, Reconciliation 

    Duffey, Suellynn (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram is a diary written by a North Vietnamese field physician serving in South Vietnam during the war we fought there who treated Vietnamese communists and ...
  • Reconciliation as [Lofty] Aim: A Genre Analysis of Iraq War-Era Women Veterans' Memoirs 

    Grohowski, Mariana (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Using the framework of rhetorical genre studies, this paper presents findings from an analysis of fifteen memoirs written by Iraq War-era women veterans. This work seeks to elucidate how the genre of "the war memoir" both ...
  • Bennett H. Young and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation 

    Giguere, Joy M. (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Serving twice as Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans, and then holding the title of Honorary Commander-in-Chief for Life until his death in 1919, Bennett H. Young was an instrumental figure in expanding ...
  • Images of Reintegration: Alternative Visual Rhetorics of the Returning World War II Soldier 

    Grant, Lenny (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    During World War II, comic books and movies buoyed the public's spirits and offered hope to combat the uncertainty of a world at war. However, these visual media often did so at the expense of portraying authentic military ...
  • Outsiders of Battlefield Experience: The Journey Home for the Civil War Soldier 

    Dahlstrand, Kate (Virginia Tech, 2015-11)
    Present value is applied to the rapid nature of Civil War soldiers' redeployment home. This paper explores the means by which Union and Confederate soldiers found their way home and the obstacles they encountered along the ...