In tandem with the Department of Comparative Studies and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, CFS is creating a learning community for undergraduates who are returning or active-duty veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. A pilot version of the program was launched in WI-SP 2010. Participants will take a sequence of two general-education courses. A reading course on The Experience of War will be followed by an ethnographic writing course asking them to document and interpret their own learning in the field: what a 21st-century battlefield is like, how to cope in a huge bureaucratic institution, what happens when soldiers try to interact with civilians in a conflict situation in a foreign country, even how to improvise emergency support systems for a population. Students will decide collectively what they want to write about and will develop collaborative web-page projects. CFS will create opportunities for them to develop their research beyond the classroom: first presentations will take place at Mershon's April conference, "International Intervention and Field Learning." The project is intended to ease the transition into academe for veteran students, to help them connect their experience with academic approaches to learning, and to provide them with a platform to communicate to the general public.
In keeping with the Teagle initiative, this experience will be used to develop a template for future courses, entitled "Translating Community Knowledge." Supported by the Division of Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences with additional support from the Mershon Center and the Institute for Collaborative Research and Public Humanities, the program will be coordinated by CFS affiliate Susan Hanson, who will develop and teach the pilot courses. For information, contact Susan Hanson.