COD Receives National Endowment for the Humanities ‘Dialogues on the Experience of War’ Grant
By Jennifer Duda
College of DuPage is among 15 institutions and one of only two community colleges to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities “Dialogues on the Experience of War” program.
The College’s Liberal Arts Division received $72,310, which project director and COD English Professor Franz Burnier will use for a team-taught seminar titled “Connections and Disconnections in U.S. Military Conflicts: From the Illinois Frontier to the Global Frontier.” Part of NEH’s Standing Together initiative, Dialogues on the Experience of War grants provide opportunities for veterans, through the study and discussion of important humanities sources, to think more deeply about issues raised by war and military service.
Scheduled to be offered during the spring 2018 semester, the seminar project is designed to help student veterans discuss their war experiences in a broader literary and historical context.
“I want our students to see their military experience as part of a continuum that hasn’t really changed in our country’s history,” Burnier said. “One of the biggest challenges veterans have is that they compartmentalize their service versus their public lives. We’re hoping they step up and come together to review and learn about past wars to help them connect and understand how military conflict has shaped and continues to shape the nation.”
Burnier, along with fellow English Professor Michelle Moore, History professors Sam Mitrani and Ben Whisenhunt, Veterans Student Services Manager Jose Alferez and Associate Professor and Reference Librarian Jason Ertz, will lead students through an exploration of military operations via history and prose, drawing parallels between conflicts. The seminar’s two war periods, from the Illinois frontier conflict between 1812 and 1832 to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, were selected for their value in showing both historical precedent and contemporary relevance, he said.
“We want to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of the complexity of war and its limitations,” Burnier said. “The NEH grant is a wonderful opportunity for the College to reach veterans in a way we haven’t previously been able to and offer them an opportunity to explore how their personal experiences fit into, and in some ways mirror, our country’s history.”
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