» War, Memory and Society

history photoWar and Society scholars expand the study of warfare beyond its military, diplomatic, and political dimensions by examining the social and cultural aspects of how societies go to war, experience war, and its consequences.  This group will bring together faculty and resources from the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, the Earl Babbie Center, and the War Letters Legacy Project to examine issues related to war, society, and memory.

There are several possibilities for collaborative research, symposiums, and conferences.

  1. A symposium on the anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, which could potentially be published in the War Crimes journal edited by Ed Day.
  2. A symposium connected to the upcoming centennial of World War I, which could potentially be published in the Journal of First World War Studies, where Jennifer Keene serves as an associate editor and on the editorial board.
  3. A CRASH group series of workshops to learn about group members’ research interest and avenues for future collaboration.
  4. Lynda Hall has a symposium planned for April 4th that has invited international writers and scholars to celebrate the literature of Alicia Kozameh, a prisoner during the Argentinian Dirty war in the 1970s and 1980s, and her writing reflects on that trauma.
  5. Organizing a traveling exhibit of images, manuscripts pertaining to the First World War held by neighboring universities, which could pool resources to create the exhibit and then take turns hosting it over the course of the centennial years. The exhibit could be accompanied by talks given by area scholars with expertise in WWI.
  • Members
  • Research projects
  • Grants/funding
  • Student research
  • Andrew Carroll is the director of the Legacy War Letters Project that will making a home at Chapman this spring. Launched on November 11, 1998, the Legacy Project is a national, all-volunteer initiative that encourages Americans to honor and remember those who have served—or are currently serving—this nation in wartime by seeking out and preserving their letters and e-mails home. These collections will serve as valuable war and society resources for the Chapman community.

    Edward Day - As a criminologist, my primary interest is studying perpetrators and victims of violations of international criminal and humanitarian law. On the perpetrator side, I have been exploring the application of criminological theories to the behavior of genocidaires. And the victim side, I am interested in exploring what actions and structures lead to perceptions of justice in the wake of such tragedies.

    Lynda Hall - My work looks at traumatic memory from a literary perspective.  My research and teaching lately has been exploring the ways that traumatic memory, especially that memory that comes from terror, is reflected and filtered through literature, particularly fiction.  I have focused on American slavery, the French Revolution, the Holocaust, the Argentinian Dirty War, and the recent fiction that has been “inspired” by the events of 9/11/01. Some of this work includes the writings of Slavov Zizek, Jacques Derrida, Cathy Caruth, and Shoshana Felman.  My interest in this comes from an overlap in my research on the rise of the English Gothic novel of the 1790s as a response to the English unease with the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.  Because of the overwhelming use of the word, “terrorism” in the past decade, some of the recent fiction inspired by 9/11 is also fascinating.  Not all of this is “war” per se, but it is always in response to violence and terror.

    Marilyn Harran - My research focuses particularly on Holocaust memory and the means by which memory is conveyed through oral and written histories.   I am currently writing/editing two Holocaust memoirs.  I continue to be especially interested in the transition period, specifically the election of 1930, in which the Nazis came to become a major political force within Germany, and the ways in which the Nazis deemphasized some aspects of their ideology and emphasized others in order to appeal to many different social groups.  And finally, I hope to write a major interpretive study of Holocaust and memory developing themes that have emerged through the accounts of the many survivors I have come to know well over the last 20 years.

    Jennifer Keene - My research focuses on World War I. I am an American history by training, and have authored several books on the American experience during the war. I am presently working on studies of the African American soldier experience and a general overview of the American war experience that examines the war as a global, not just national, event.  I am interested in how competing memories of war underlie veteran political agendas in the postwar period, and also how visual materials create narratives that allow Americans to discuss and dispute the social changes engendered by war.

    Angie Kanavou -Currently, my Cambodian collaborator and friend Kosal Path and I work on post war/genocide social adaptation.  Two projects are growing out of this theme.  The first deals with perpetrators and survivors and compares the two groups along the continuum of social adaptation.  It asks questions such as: How does each group view the past, relates to "the other," the broader society and the state?  The second group deals with the children of each group.  As with the first, the second project compares groups of young adults along the adaptation continuum but we try to get deeper into community participation and extent of empathic responses.  Do parents experiences as perpetrators, survivors (and bystanders) affect how their off-spring relate to the world?  Our observations rely on survey analysis and content analysis of memory transmission from one generation to the other in order to disentangle the politics of each group's memory patterns. 

    Shira Klein - My areas of expertise are Italian Jewish history, Jewish migration history, Jewish daily life, and twentieth-century contacts between European, Israeli, and American Jews. My dissertation, which I defended several months ago at New York University, is a social and cultural history of Italian Jewry and its diaspora. It spans Italy, the United States, and Israel, and stretches from the nineteenth century until after the Holocaust. Most accounts of modern Italian Jewry talk of an “assimilated” population which gave up its Jewish identity. I challenge this assumption by examining Italian Jews from their perspective, using sources such as family letters, diaries, memoirs, oral histories, newsletters, and institutional correspondence. These sources show that in the wake of emancipation, Italian Jews cultivated a strong sense of Italianness and Jewishness at one and the same time. More importantly for the War and Society CRASSH Group, I also counter the notion that World War II represented a point of complete and utter rupture in Italian Jewish life. By looking at Italian Jews who lived to see the end of World War II, namely, refugees who fled Europe before deportations began, and survivors who escaped deportation, I show that Italian Jews experienced continuity as well as change. Both as refugee émigrés abroad and as survivors in Italy, Italian Jews retained many of their prewar practices and identifications. Those who fled Italy’s 1938 racial laws clung to their past as they rebuilt their lives in Palestine (later Israel) and the United States. Conversely, Jews from Israel and the United States, when arriving in late 1940s Italy, encountered a Jewish community intent on returning to the way things had been before the war. My immediate goal for the near future is to convert my dissertation into a manuscript, and I have identified potential publishers for this purpose.

    Jeff Koerber is the first Research Associate and Holocaust History Fellow to join the History Department at Chapman University. He teaches courses in Holocaust history, including “The Holocaust in History and Film,” and “Perpetrators, Witnesses, and Rescuers.” In addition to teaching, he contributes to the multi-faceted outreach programs of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. Mr. Koerber is a doctoral candidate in Holocaust history at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. His dissertation, “Born in the Borderlands: Jewish Youth and Their Response to Oppression and Genocide, 1933–1948,” explores and analyzes the prewar and wartime experience of young Jews raised under the contrasting political and social orders of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Second Republic of Poland. He has received Fulbright grants for research in Belarus and Poland, as well as fellowships from Claims Conference, USC Shoah Foundation Institute, Holocaust Educational Foundation, and Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry. His background is interdisciplinary: he holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and practiced historic preservation architecture in Chicago for a decade and a half.

    Rafael Luevano - In his work, Woman-Killing in Juárez: Theodicy at the Border, theologian Rafael Luévano pondered the brutal killing, which began in 1993, of more than 500 innocent women on the northern border of Mexico. These women-killings are related to the escalating bloodbath of the illegal drug trade. In his current work, Luévano shifts his attention to this narco-violence. This complex and modern war rages at the southern border of the United States, where vying drug cartels battle against one another and corrupt police officers and army soldiers supposedly protect Mexico’s interests. In the last six years, there have been more than 6,000 casualties of this drug war, approximately the same number as the number of American soldiers lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. No one is safe from random violence. Luévano employs field research, social analysis, and theological reflection, crafting his research into personal accounts called narrative theology. In his reflections, he attempts to make some sense of evil and human suffering. He focuses on memory of the dead as a possible step toward change, though amid this senseless violence—ultimately—the mercy of God becomes the reservoir of hope and healing.

    Robert Slayton - My research interests are somewhat eclectic.  I write quite a bit in urban history, but I have also dealt with military history in three ways:

    • My biography of an Air Force general, William Tunner, who was the great pioneer in military air transport: Master of the Air.
    • This summer, I will just be starting a new book about the history of the Independent Living movement among the disabled, including a number of projects for veterans of WW I and WWII.
    • Arms of Destruction.  The original title of this was “The best land weapons of WWII, ranking different weapon systems, etc.  Before the marketing guys had their way.

    Stephanie Takaragawa - My research focuses on the Japanese-American internment, emphasizing the role that event played in the construction of collective memory and community of Japanese-American identity in the US today.  This is analyzed through the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles, and the shift in media representations of Japanese-Americans in the US from WWII to the present.  My research also looks at the economic role in the “evacuation and relocation” of this community who was forced to discard their possessions and property.

    John Hall, Professor of Law, areas of interest are WW1, Napoleonic Wars, and the Cambodian genocide

    Tom Zoellner - I am a nonfiction writer whose work frequently touches on the causes and the effects of war. I have written and co-written two books about regional African conflicts. An Ordinary Man was co-written with real-life Hotel Rwanda figure Paul Rusesabagina. The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire documented the large-scale smuggling of diamonds that financed three civil wars in Africa. In addition, my book Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World told the centuries-long story of the seed mineral of atomic weapons, and covered the Manhattan Project, as well as the buildup to the Iraq War and the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to stop the clandestine enrichment of uranium in Iran, North Korea, Libya and other nations. A forthcoming book Train: A Biography has a chapter on the role of the railroad in combat, a legacy that dates to the Crimean War.

    • Holocaust and Comparative Genocide
    • Memory of war
    • Soldier and civilian experience of war and armed conflict
    • Postwar: veteran homecomings, disability, reparations, social justice, economic reconstruction
    • War, trauma, and literary (or artistic) representations
  • Australian Fulbright Alumni Award to explore formulating institutional connections to the Australian Defence Force Academy Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict & Society.
    • Student workers associated with the War Crimes journal edited by Ed Day.
    • The potential creation of a MA in War and Society Studies will give graduate students possibilities of connecting to CRASH projects or the research of individual members.
    • The creation of a traveling exhibit would offer numerous opportunities for students to craft.