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The Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement is in the process of gaining approval for launching an undergraduate certificate in Veterans Studies. The certificate is conceived as inter- and trans-disciplinary, grounded in the humanities above all, with strong social science components, especially sociology, psychology, politics. Future plans include an online version of the certificate and a graduate version somewhere farther down the line. Certificate holders will enhance their employment prospects in several sectors of the economy that work with and respond to veterans from congressional staff offices to the Veterans Administration to journalists covering war.
Veteran studies bear comparison with other pioneering social and critical fields that emerged out of “identity” politics and the struggle for expansion of democracy to marginalized groups, including women and gender studies, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ, and others. Veteran studies has a very new interdisciplinary journal and has begun to host annual conferences and workshops, but based on our research no university yet offers the program that we are proposing.
The certificate title is Veterans, Society, Service, and it will familiarize certificate holders with the ability to critically analyze and engage the often troublingly shallow understanding between military and civilian cultures, it will examine what civilian society and veterans can learn from one another about the nature of national service, and will provide experiential learning to increase understanding of veterans, society, and service. There will be two required courses, together with an internship, a seminar attached to the internship and capstone experience, plus two electives. The core courses, “Veterans, Society and Service: America’s Experience of Modern War,” and “Representations and Self-Representations of Veterans in Media and the Arts,” will be offered annually.
In the fall of 2018, regardless of certificate status, we are offering HST394 Veterans, Society and Service: America’s Experience of Modern War. It will begin with the questions: Who are veterans? How and why do citizens become military service members and what is the experience of recruitment, training, service, and transition to civilian life? It will examine the changing faces of combat and service through recent American military history, and what gave rise to the military civilian divide. It will conclude with a focus on veteran organizations, transitioning, continued civic engagement and service as well as an inquiry into the nature of both resilience and moral injury.