The third annual Veterans in Society conference hosted by Virginia Tech features James Marten, chair of the history department at Marquette University, as the keynote speaker. The conference will be held Nov. 12-14 in Roanoke.

Marten is the author of “Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America (Civil War America)” and author or editor of 14 other books on the Civil War era and children’s history. He is the current president of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, founded in 2001 to support research about childhood, youth cultures, and the experiences of young people in diverse times and places.

The three-day event at Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society. This year’s theme is Veterans in Society: Race and/or Reconciliation.

“Military veterans’ reintegration into society is challenging for governments and civilian society,” said James M. Dubinsky, associate professor of rhetoric and writing at Virginia Tech and a retired U.S. Army officer. “The American Civil War is a powerful point of departure from which to explore veterans’ reconciliation when social divisions such as race and ethnicity cut across shared military experiences.”

Dubinsky is chair for the conference and first chair of the Virginia Tech Veterans Caucus, established in 2015 to advocate for student and employee veterans and to encourage mentoring and transitional support.

Also speaking at the November conference will be Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien, author of the short-story collection “The Things They Carried," a critically acclaimed work of autobiographical fiction that was also picked The Big Read in the New River Valley, a program in the National Endowment for the Arts.   

In addition, retired Admiral John C. Harvey Jr., Virginia’s secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs, will provide the keynote for the luncheon on Friday.

The conference will feature a performance by Carpetbag Theatre Inc. of “Speed Killed My Cousin,” the story of an African American woman veteran struggling with war-related issues and her experiences in combat in Iraq.

Cost for the three-day event is $70 for the general public, $35 for veterans, and free for students. Single-day registration is also available. The registration deadline is Thursday, Nov. 5. Hotel Roanoke is offering discounted room rates for the conference.

Details about the conference, including the full schedule, lodging, and travel information, are on the Veterans in Society 2015 website.

Co-sponsors are Virginia Tech’s Center for the Arts, Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement, Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Graduate School, Institute for Policy and Governance, Office of Human Resources, Pamplin College of Business, Race and Social Policy Research Center, Student Success Center, University Libraries, Veterans at VT, Veterans Caucus, and the departments of English, History, and Sociology.

Other co-sponsors include the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the regional chapter of the Association of the United States Army, and Radford University’s McConnell Library.



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