In the Field: Dialogues on the Experience of War
“If you just go up to somebody and say, ‘You don’t feel right because you have had this trauma,’ that’s not as effective. You have to be able to give them some distance. That’s the aesthetic distance that allows [for] self-reflection.”
—Terry Donovan Smith, Chair, Department of Theater Arts at CSUSB, “In the Field: Dialogues on the Experience of War”
- What is the "aesthetic distance" to which Terry Donovan Smith refers? What similar reflections appear in the video?
- What is the role of literature and theater in creating "aesthetic distance"?
- How has the program impacted both veterans, as participants and facilitators, and civilian facilitators of the program?
About "From Ancient Greece to the Modern Middle East: Dialogues on the Experience of War"
Funded through the NEH Division of Education's Dialogues on the Experience of War program, this reading, viewing, and discussion program at California State University, San Bernardino, uses classical Greek and modern literature to help veterans address their experiences and reintegration into civilian life. Read more on the NEH blog.
These EDSITEment resources can help continue conversations about humanities and the experience of war.
- Student Activity: Veterans Speak: War, Trauma, and the Humanities (Grades 6-12): Learn more about the Dialogues on the Experience of War program, as well as other NEH initiatives for veterans.
- Lesson Plan: Doing Oral History with Vietnam War Veterans (Grades 6-12): Learn oral history interviewing skills and best practices for interviewing a Vietnam War veteran. Explore how oral histories are similar to and different from written sources, and how they can help build historical empathy.