When it comes to working with veterans, government efforts aren’t limited to health and employment programs. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is getting into the act with an initiative to help veterans using literature, drama and history.
NEH started “Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War,” by funding five pilot programs that it says “use humanities scholarship to examine war and its aftermath, bring together veterans, scholars, and communities for discussions of the experiences of military service and of returning home.”
The pilot programs:
-The Warrior Scholar Project is an intensive two-week humanities-based “academic boot camp” to help vets move from the military to college. It focuses on the analytical reading, writing and discussion skills they will need to succeed in academia. Practical things like study stills, notetaking, exam preparation, course selection and time management will be covered. Yale University started the program. The University of Michigan and Harvard University also will participate.
-The Talking Service Project will use 20 organizations to form discussion groups for veterans centered around literature in the NEH-funded anthology “Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian.” According to NEH, Standing Down “features works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, journalism, public documents, and memoirs. Excerpts range from Shakespeare and George Washington to Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, and Tim O’Brien.” The New York Council for the Humanities and the Great Books Foundation are working on this program.
-Military History Workshop at Northeastern University in Boston will provide training in the use of digital tools to explore military history. The university and the Society for Military History will host a two-day workshop later this year “to help military historians deal with large data sets and digital mapping questions.”
-“YouStories: Classics, Conversation, Connection” works through New York City’s Aquila Theatre to connect with veterans and their families “with programs that draw on powerful portrayals in Greek drama of soldiers returning home from war.” Veterans will look for parallels to their lives in the literature “and develop insights into their own experiences of the trauma of war and the challenges of re-entering civilian life.”
-Literature & Medicine for Veterans is a reading and discussion program sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council that works “with veterans at the grassroots level, based on issues and themes that the veterans involved have highlighted as important to them.”