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Veterans Observed/Veterans Observing


Mar 08 2016


5:30 pm - 6:45 pm


White Lecture Hall

Duke East Campus

Veterans Observed

[ Image: “The Veteran At Home,” New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1868 ]


Veterans Observed/Veterans Observing

A Conversation with David Jay, Shelly Rambo, Roy Scranton, Zoë Wool

Everyone is welcome for this discussion of war veterans’ responses to their experiences of war. With our four panelists, we’ll explore the different voices and frameworks that emerge in their work as ethnographers, documentarians, scholars, and writers, and the insights provided by their own varied experiences as participants in and documenters of veterans’ return to civilian life in the United States. The panelists sharing their work include David Jay, a photographer whose work includes The Unknown Soldier, a series of large-scale photographs of severely wounded young soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Shelly Rambo, a theologian at Boston University whose research and teaching include work with military chaplains and with veterans concerning issues related to the spirituality of veteran healing; Roy Scranton, a journalist, fiction writer, and post-doctoral fellow at Rice University, and a US Army veteran of the Iraq war, whose work includes critiques of the “trauma hero” in military fiction, the intersection of culture, conflict, and climate change, and his own military-focused fiction; and Zoë Wool, an anthropologist at Rice University whose research includes long-term ethnographic fieldwork with war injured American soldiers and their family members. The discussion will be moderated by Michelle Lanier, an oral historian and folklorist who teaches the “Veterans Oral History Project” course for Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.

Sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics, with additional support from the Department of Cultural Anthropology.

Related Coverage

“Interconnectedness doesn’t imply only the mutual bearing of the veteran’s burden. Most importantly, it implies allowing for completeness: for the veteran to engage fully, even joyfully, in ‘civilian’ life, a world which is rightly theirs, without the ever-present anxious gaze of their non-veteran companions focusing on the veteran’s presumed unknowable trauma.” —Margaret (Lou) Brown, Talking About War, Veterans, and Society’s Responsibility, Forum Online


David Jay

David Jay was born in Oakland, CA but has spent most of his life between Australia, California and New York City. He has been shooting fashion photography for the past 20 years. His work has been featured in international editions of Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Style, Shape and countless others. The…...

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Shelly Rambo

Boston University

Shelly Rambo is is Associate Professor of Theology at Boston University School of Theology. Her research and teaching interests focus on religious responses to suffering, trauma, and violence, and her book, Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining, develops a theology of the Spirit in response to the interdisciplinary study…...

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Roy Scranton

University of Notre Dame

Roy Scranton is the author of War Porn and Learning to Die in the Anthropocene, and co-editor of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. His journalism, essays, and fiction have been published in The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Boston Review, and elsewhere. He holds…...

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Zoë Wool

Rice University

Zoë Wool is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. Her research is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork with war injured American soldiers and explores social, cultural, ethical, intimate, carnal, and clinical situations within which such special categories of life, death, and personhood accrue value or are debrided of it. Her…...

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Michelle Lanier

Duke University

Michelle Lanier has been an instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University since 2000. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work, training students to collect veterans' narratives. Michelle also serves as the director of North Carolina's African…...

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