War & Remembrance: Interventionist Wars in Art and Popular Memory
The 20th anniversary of U.S. and coalition participation in the “Global War on Terrorism,” coupled with the recent events in Afghanistan, offers an opportunity to reflect on how the societies that dispatched members of their defense, diplomatic, and development establishments understood the wars in which they participated. The oft-cited statistics for low citizen participation in these conflicts masks the power of indirect means for societal involvement. Whether expressing their opinions on these wars to opinion pollers; having the sometimes awkward conversations with a returning friend or family member on their experience; consuming popular media portrayals of the wars through movies, books, newspapers, television specials, or songs; or offering the “Thank you for your service” salutation to a service member in uniform, members of the wider society form and express opinions on the tremendously complicated phenomena of an interventionist war. This event will discuss some of the ways society reflects on these conflicts through the popular portrayals. A panel composed of artist-participants and academics will navigate both the personal and broader societal journeys of understanding the nature of these conflicts, with a special emphasis on participants in the Vietnam and post-9/11 conflicts.
This inaugural virtual event on War and Remembrance is jointly hosted by Georgetown University’s MA in Conflict Resolution and San Diego State University’s Center for War and Society. It will be presented via Zoom’s webinar format. Register on Eventbrite for Zoom link.
Gregory A. Daddis, PhD, Director of the Center for War and Society and the USS Midway Chair in Modern U.S. Military History, San Diego State University
Stacy Pearsall, professional photographer, author of the book Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera, and initiator of the Veterans Portrait Project
Fred Smith, singer, songwriter, and author of The Dust of Uruzgan
Kara Dixon Vuic, PhD, LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America, Texas Christian University
Daniel Weggeland (G’07), Conflict Resolution Faculty Fellow
About the Panelists and Moderator
Gregory Daddis, PhD is the Director of the Center for War and Society Director and the USS Midway Chair in Modern U.S. Military History. Originally from the Garden State of New Jersey, he holds a bachelor of science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a master’s degree from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating from West Point, he served for 26 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a colonel. He is a veteran of both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and his military awards include the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service Medals. His final assignment in the army was as the Chief of the American History Division in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy.
Stacy Pearsall got her start as an Air Force photographer at the age of 17. During her time in service, she traveled to over 41 countries, and attended the Military Photojournalism Program at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University from which she is a 50 Forward distinguished graduate. During three combat tours, she earned the Bronze Star Medal and Air Force Commendation with Valor for combat actions in Iraq. Though combat disabled and retired from military service, Pearsall has not let her disabilities hold her back. With her service animal America’s VetDogs Charlie by her side, she continues to work worldwide as an independent photographer and is an author, educator, military consultant, BRAVO748 public speaker and founder of the Veterans Portrait Project.
Fred Smith writes songs. Some of them are sad. Some of them are funny. Some of them are sad and funny. Some of them are quite serious. They have melodies and stories you can remember – that stay with you and keep you company during the day and at night when you are sitting in a chair. Fred’s songs reflect the world he has seen in what, so far, has been a messy and interesting life. He was the subject of an Australian Story documentary feature about his experiences in Afghanistan and Bougainville. His book, The Dust of Uruzgan, was published by Allen and Unwin.
Kara Dixon Vuic, PhD is the LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society at Texas Christian University. She researches and writes about the ways twentieth-century wars have shaped, and been shaped by, American society and culture. She is especially interested in women’s military and wartime experiences and in the ways the U.S. military deals with gender. Her current book project is titled “Drafting Women.” At TCU, she teaches courses on war and society, gender and the U.S. military, war and memory, and modern U.S. history.
Daniel Weggeland (G’07) is a Faculty Fellow with Georgetown University’s Conflict Resolution Program. He is a development practitioner with an enduring interest in the theory and application of development resources for political and security outcomes. While a university student, he was a teaching assistant at the National War College and traveled twice to Liberia for field research: initially as an undergraduate arriving on the first post-war commercial flight in 2004 to interview UN peacekeeping troops and again in 2007 as a graduate student to lead a field team preparing excombatant holdouts for demobilization. Starting in 2008, he spent three consecutive years in Afghanistan operating in multiple provinces, partnering across civilian and military bureaucracies, and serving in the field and at headquarters. He advised Generals Petraeus and Allen on establishing theater-wide policies and embedded with military units to observe their operations. He headed the development portfolio for province- and brigade-level teams that were models of interagency cooperation as the United States Agency for International Development representative. He managed the conflict mitigation portfolio for an implementing partner of a regional stabilization program. Between 2013 and 2014, he was able to begin reflecting on his work and reengaging with academic scholarship as a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. He holds a master’s in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and continues to work on the Afghanistan contingency as the senior subject matter expert with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.