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NEH Veterans

An Endowment-wide initiative to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

NEH seeks grant proposals that explore war and its aftermath, promote discussion of the experience of
military service, and support returning veterans and their families.

Standing Together

Modern wars take place on such a large scale that one person's experiences can seem lost in the numbers: 750,000 Union and Confederate dead in the Civil War; 85 million in uniform worldwide during World War II.  

Each returning veteran, however, comes home with his or her own memories—individual, often unique stories that may be told often or almost never, sometimes understandable only to others who fought.

A wealth of documentaries funded by the NEH tells these human stories of Americans at war, from the fallen soldiers of Antietam's "bloodiest day" to the Pacific battles of World War II and the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Through letters, interviews, and rarely seen footage and images, these films highlight both new and familiar figures from the past, share the voices of veterans and their families, and illuminate the reality of war and its lasting effects on American life at home and abroad.

This multi-year effort includes grant programs within all of NEH’s Divisions. To start, you can match your project with an NEH grant.

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Standing Together Programs

The Talking Service Project

Talking Service is a national initiative to create and sustain discussion groups for veterans using written works of literature in the humanities from the anthology Standing Down:  From Warrior to Civilian.  The project will identify twenty organizations for Talking Service discussions, train discussion facilitators for each site, conduct a series of four to six sessions at each venue, and provide copies of Standing Down for all participants. The anthology, Standing Down, the centerpiece of the discussions, was published by the Great Books Foundation and features works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, journalism, public documents and memoirs.  Excerpts range from Shakespeare and George Washington to Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, and Tim O’Brien.      

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The Warrior Scholar Project

The Warrior-Scholar project is an intensive two-week, humanities-based “academic boot camp” hosted at some of America’s top universities to facilitate veterans’ transition from the military to college. Under the guidance of world-renowned professors and veteran mentors, students in the Warrior-Scholar Project develop the analytical reading, writing, and discussion skills critical to academic success while also learning about challenges to expect on campus. Student veterans tackle humanities classics such as Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War, and Herodotus’ The History.  They practice dealing with academic fundamentals:  close reading of primary sources, text-based discussion, study skills appropriate to a large volume of reading, note taking, exam preparation, course selection, time management, family relations, and confidence-building. The program would be expanded from its founding site at Yale to Harvard University and the University of Michigan. 

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Literature and Medicine for Veterans

Literature and Medicine is a reading and discussion program to help the medical and administrative staff of Veterans Affairs hospitals understand and handle the special pressures and challenges of treating veterans. The Standing Together initiative intends to extend successful programs now underway in twenty VA hospitals to include discussion programs for veterans groups.  The programs will be administered through the Maine Humanities Council, which pioneered the effort in 1998.  New syllabi will be distributed to nine state humanities councils with prior experience in running Literature and Med programs: Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Vermont. These states will craft programs to broaden the reach of their Literature and Medicine programs at venues across the nation. 

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Military History Workshop

A workshop at Northeastern University will offer hands-on training on the application of digital humanities methodologies to military history. Leading scholars will provide instruction in topics such as the use of GIS or Geographic Information Systems, deep mapping, and network analysis. Participants, drawn from the military history community, will learn new ways to conduct their research using the latest in digital tools and techniques. As part of NEH's new effort to fund projects related to the military and veterans, NEH's Office of Digital Humanities, in cooperation with the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University and the Society for Military History, will host a two-day professional development workshop to help military historians deal with large data sets and digital mapping questions. The workshop will be held October 10-11, 2014 in Boston. If you are interested in attending, please see the application details on the workshop website.

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YouStories: Classics, Conversation, Connection

YouStories builds on the success of previous NEH grants for Aquila Theatre’s programs interpreting classical Greek drama. Aquila conducts special outreach to American veterans and their families with programs that draw on powerful portrayals in Greek drama of soldiers returning home from war. As participants in the programs, veterans find parallels and develop insights into their own experiences of the trauma of war and the challenges of re-entering civilian life. Ten additional theater programs will focus on women’s military experience and its consequences for women, men, and families, through two works by Euripides, Herakles and The Women of Troy.

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