Marshall University program seeking veteran discussion leaders


Huntington, W.Va. – ‘Testament: Recovering Identity after War’, is seeking discussion leaders to lead veteran discussion groups in Spring 2023. Discussion leaders will also attend an eight-week preparatory program at Marshall University beginning on Mon. Oct. 10. from 6-8:20p.m. Discussion leaders will meet each Mon. from 6-8:20p.m. for eight consecutive weeks ending on Nov. 28. Each discussion leader will receive a monetary stipend for their participation.

Testament integrates sustained discussion of humanities texts about war with digital humanities platforms to create a network of testimony of and for veterans, their families, and friends in recovery, broadly construed, in the state of West Virginia. The program is co-directed by Marshall professors Christina Franzen and Robin Conley Riner.

“After completing an honors seminar a few years ago, Dr. Riner and I decided to apply for several grants to bring humanities, specifically Lucan’s Civil War, to veterans throughout the state of West Virginia,” Franzen said. “Humanities, especially classics, Greek and Latin, can have a cathartic effect for people who have experienced trauma.”

In partnership with the WV Collegiate Recovery Network, veteran discussion leaders will attend a preparatory program at Marshall University, after which they will facilitate discussion groups at locations throughout southern WV. They will lead participants in a sustained discussion of humanities texts about historical military conflicts. They will then invite participants to inscribe and document their stories, reflections, and experiences of war on the digital humanities platform Movable: Narratives of Recovery and Place. Recreating identity after traumatic events and inscribing it on a digital platform will create a living and eternal testament not only to pain from the past but to hope for renewal in the future.

“I spoke recently to a veteran about the concept of recovery,” Riner said. “He told me that he sees recovery similarly to how professional athletes view it. Athletes understand that after a big game, they need time to debrief and recover before moving onto the next endeavor. In war, of course, such time is not available, but we hope that perhaps this program can provide veterans who have returned from their service with this space for debriefing and recovering so that they may move onto something new.”

To be a discussion leader, individuals must be a veteran or military-connected, attend the eight-week preparatory program at Marshall University, and lead one of three discussion group series in Spring 2023.

For more information or to apply to become a discussion leader, visit or contact Christina Franzen at or Robin Conley Riner at

This project is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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