Discussion Groups

Discussion groups will meet at the following locations and dates.

There will be three discussion group series held in Spring 2023. Discussion groups are open to veterans in recovery (broadly defined – from trauma, addiction, or any other hardship). Each of the three discussion group series, which consists of five weekly, 2-hour meetings, will provide a sustained discussion of selected humanities texts that address a central theme related to recovery, trauma, and war. Discussion groups allow multi-generational veterans to connect and discuss their varied experiences in a safe environment.
Reading materials will be mailed to participants who register online or will be available on-site at the discussion group meetings. No prior reading is required to attend the groups.

Series 1

The first discussion series, held at the Vet Center in Huntington, WV, will focus on the Roman civil war (48 BCE) and will address the theme of trauma, narrative, and the fractured self. While transforming traumatic memories into coherent stories can be important for recovery, veterans and others often struggle to identify a narrative structure that will fit their experiences (Brison 2002, Bourke 1999). Because of this narrative dissonance, some assert that trauma survivors are “not the same people they were prior to their traumatic transformations” (Brison 2002:38-39). Lucan’s Civil War will be our primary text, supplemented by readings that address the complexities of narrative sense-making after war and trauma, such as anthropologist Zoe Wool’s After War and Shadi Bartsch’s Ideology in Cold Blood.

Series 2

Series Two, held in the State room at Concord University in Athens, WV, will focus on the American Civil War and the theme of memory and forgetting. Discussions of this theme will consider how veterans can forge the gaps in memory that result from traumatic experience, how embodied memories of war permeate the lives of those who’ve lived through it and the role of memory in the process of recovery. In this series, participants will read Civil War letters from Carroll’s War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars and Catherine Clinton’s Civil War Stories, both featuring perspectives often left out of the collective memory. Additional readings, including excerpts from Kenneth MacLeish’s Making War at Fort Hood and Brian Powers’ Full Darkness, will explore how embodied memories of war permeate the lives of veterans once they have returned.

Series 3

Series Three, held at BridgeValley Community and Technical College in Institute, WV, will focus on WWII and the theme of bearing witness. If the chaos of war and trauma is untellable, and untranslatable, how can testimony be given to it? Our program explores bearing witness as a form of social action, through which trauma survivors can be liberated as well as enveloped in solidarity with others (Stephens 2021). To navigate this territory, we will read Primo Levi’s “The Drowned and the Saved,” selections from Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed, and Studs Terkel’s The Good War. These will be supplemented by excerpts from Tzvetan Todorov’s Hope and Memory, Joanna Bourke’s An Intimate History of Killing, and Alice Oswald’s poetic adaption of the Iliad, Memorial.

Participants can register on-site or by clicking the register button below.

Huntington Veterans Center & Marshall University Drinko Library
Discussion group series 1 dates.
January 14th- Opening Reception at Huntington Vet Center
January 21st- Drinko Library
January 28th- Drinko Library
February 4th- Drinko Library
February 11th- Drinko Library

All groups will meet from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. each Saturday.

Concord University
Discussion group series 2 dates.
February 18th
February 25th
March 4th
March 11th
March 18th

This discussion groups will be held in the State room at Concord University.

All groups will meet from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. each Saturday.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College

Discussion group series 3 dates.
April 1st
April 8th
April 15th
April 22nd
April 29th

All groups will meet from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. each Saturday.

Register For Discussion Groups