Day One – Monday, July 10, 2023
Objectives: Familiarize yourself with the Institute’s three-part framework through select readings.
Prior to the Institute, we are asking participants to have read the Assigned Readings for Day One relating each of the three parts of the framework.
Participants are also encouraged (but not required) to read one additional reading of their choice from each of the three parts of the framework, which can be found in the Day Two, Day Three, and Day Four “Additional Readings” section. (Note: Select one additional reading from each of the three parts—i.e., three total—not one from each conflict, which would be nine total.) These three Additional Readings for Day One are meant to demonstrate key ideas, themes, and modes of analysis from the Institute’s three-part framework for World War II, the Vietnam War, and the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You are encouraged to download any or all remaining Additional Readings to read during and/or after the Institute.
Day One – Assigned Readings
- Part I of the Framework: “Approaching the Study of American Foreign Relations,” excerpted texts from Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Vol. II: Since 1914 (2010)
- Part II of the Framework: Three excerpts from David Kieran and Edwin A. Martini (eds.), At War: The Military and American Culture in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (2018)
- Part III of the Framework: G. Kurt Piehler, “War and Memory,” in David Kieran and Edwin A. Martini (eds.), At War: The Military and American Culture in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (2018)
See below for guidance and reading questions for Day 1’s Assigned Readings:
Part I of the framework: What are the origins and causes of U.S. wars?
The Institute’s framework emphasizes the importance of introducing students to “different perspectives” on the origins and causes of U.S. wars throughout the school year. In these short, excerpted texts from leading scholars on the history of U.S. foreign relations, you will encounter six examples of the types of historical perspectives through which we can analyze U.S. foreign policy and U.S. wars.
As you read, consider:
- What is new to you? What is familiar? Have you used any of these “lenses” into U.S. foreign relations with your students? If so, how?
- How can I introduce these conceptual understandings of U.S. foreign relations to my students? What other “historical perspectives” or “analytical lenses” should we be using?
- Which U.S. conflicts might be best suited to introduce which historical perspectives on the origins and causes of U.S. wars?
Part II of the framework: What have been the first-hand experiences of U.S. military personnel during war?
The Institute’s framework emphasizes the importance of introducing students to a wide variety of “on-the-ground” viewpoints of U.S. military personnel when studying U.S. wars. This focus on the diversity of identities within the U.S. military should particularly appeal to teachers seeking to include the experiences of people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ service members within the history of American military conflicts. However, this focus on the diversity of identities and experiences is not meant to convey an unproblematic portrayal of the military as a romanticized “melting pot.” Instead, these readings will explore the manner in which the U.S. military has often reproduced hierarchies of discrimination within American society while simultaneously serving as an institution through which a wide range of Americans have laid claim to the civic inclusiveness implied through military service.
As you read, consider:
- What is new to you? What is familiar? How have you taught about the experiences and viewpoints of U.S. military personnel in your classes before? If so, how?
- What are the demographics of who has served in the U.S. military and how has that changed over time? How have U.S. military personnel’s experiences of military service and war been affected by their racial, ethnic, class, gender, and/or sexual identities? How has military service changed over time? What similar and different experiences have U.S. military personnel had?
- How can we teach about the links between U.S. military personnel’s experiences of U.S. wars and the broader political, social, and cultural forces transforming the United States (and beyond)?
Part III of the framework: How have memories of war shaped U.S. culture and public discourse?
The third part of the model framework introduces the study of historical memory, a mode of analysis that explores war not simply as a discrete chronological event with a fixed beginning and end. Through the lens of historical memory, wars become a starting point for the remembered experiences for veterans and a historical fulcrum from which the nation’s social, cultural, and political values are challenged or reinforced through collective memorialization.
As you read, consider:
- What is new to you? What is familiar? How have you taught about historical memory and U.S. wars in your classes before? If so, how?
- What do you think the following quote from scholar Viet Than Nguyen means? “All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.”
- What kinds of historical evidence can be used to teach about historical memory? What kind of stories can be told with that evidence? What are their strengths and weaknesses as historical evidence? How can we teach about the contested nature of historical memory and its various social, cultural, and political effects?