AM8: Military Veterans Stories of Belonging, Transition, and Higher Education: Bridging the Civilian-Military Divide


What are the myths of Post-9/11 military service—who fights, why, what are the impacts and burdens of service, including for societies in the Middle East? Fewer than one percent of Americans serve in the military and only seven percent of Americans are veterans. With such a small percentage of Americans making up our military community, most Americans don’t know much about military culture, and/or their dedication to service and country. Thus, they may rely on portrayals of our veterans in the media or online--increasing stereotypes and myths about the military community, deepening the divide between the two cultures. How can people support our military if they don’t understand it? It is said that stories bind us, however, with such small numbers of veterans/military – how can these stories be told?

In this new Working Group, we focus on sharing stories about belonging, transition, knowledge, diverse communities of service, and divergent perspectives to bridge the rising civilian-military divide in Post-9/11 U.S./American culture. We develop interdisciplinary, humanities-based dialogues to probe myths about war and military service in texts, public culture, and among individuals’ stories to enrich Central NY campuses with research, collaboration, and teaching about veterans on campus.

Open to New People

Active since: 2022

  • Syracuse University
  • Le Moyne College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

Collaborative Goals

There is a robust tradition of modern literary writing and criticism of war, including Phil Klay’s fiction and nonfiction, as noted in our epigraph. But while many CNY Corridor campuses have worked hard to recruit military veterans, few academic spaces in the humanities exist for collaborators (faculty, students, and staff) to critically reflect upon and share divergent stories, experiences, and myths about war.

Thus, this new Working Group proposes three goals:

  1. Create a space for interdisciplinary researchers to engage in dialogue—as a powerful humanities pedagogical method and a mode of communication across multiple perspectives—to read and share stories about Post-9/11 military service and veterans;
  2. Co-create a lasting public good in recorded and archived research-engaged community conversations about CNY veterans’ experiences in transitioning from war to higher education; and
  3. To reframe our myths about war and service by exploring diverse communities who serve—those from different geographical, cultural, religious, and professional backgrounds, including African and Native Americans veterans, women and immigrants, and veterans with disabilities (over 30% of the Post-9/11 cohort).

Programs will include regular inclusive dialogue and reading groups and the co-writing of creative and research projects (creative works, critical reflections on existing war writing, research briefs, oral archives to be housed at the National Veterans Resource Center).

Group Organizers

Linda Euto

Associate Director, Research and Evaluation, Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), Syracuse University

Jennifer Reddy

Associate Director, Continuing Education; Veterans' Services Coordinator, Le Moyne College

Jennifer Poggi

Assistant Professor, Photojournalism, Rochester Institute of Technology

Corri Zoli

Assistant Research Professor (PTI)/Faculty Affiliate, FNSSI/PARCC, Syracuse University