Media Resource

In the Field: Dialogues on the Experience of War

“If you just go up to somebody and say, ‘You don’t feel right because you have had this trauma,’ that’s not as effective. You have to be able to give them some distance. That’s the aesthetic distance that allows [for] self-reflection.”

—Terry Donovan Smith, Chair, Department of Theater Arts at CSUSB, “In the Field: Dialogues on the Experience of War”

Discussion Questions

  • What is the "aesthetic distance" to which Terry Donovan Smith refers? What similar reflections appear in the video?
  • What is the role of literature and theater in creating "aesthetic distance"?
  • How has the program impacted both veterans, as participants and facilitators, and civilian facilitators of the program?

About "From Ancient Greece to the Modern Middle East: Dialogues on the Experience of War"

Funded through the NEH Division of Education's Dialogues on the Experience of War program, this reading, viewing, and discussion program at California State University, San Bernardino, uses classical Greek and modern literature to help veterans address their experiences and reintegration into civilian life. Read more on the NEH blog.

Classroom Connections

These EDSITEment resources can help continue conversations about humanities and the experience of war.