What does it mean to come back home from war? How can we build bridges of understanding between those who have served and those who have not?
Please note that this page is under construction. Thank you for your patience.
War Comes Home, our current thematic initiative, aims to raise awareness of and promote greater understanding of our veterans and explore the impact of war on our communities. Through hundreds of events throughout California, we are working to bring communities together with veterans and their families, writers, and historians for thoughtful reflection and lively discussion in the aftermath of more than 12 years of war.
Please join us in the following programs:
WAR COMES HOME PROGRAMS INCLUDE
CALIFORNIA READS + AUTHOR TOUR
What is it like to be a veteran? What does it mean to come home from war?
Many joined our statewide read of best-selling novelist Karl Marlantes’ book, What It Is Like to Go to War (Grove/Atlantic 2011). In fall of 2014, hundreds of events promoting thoughtful reflection and lively discussion at libraries, campuses, schools, and community organizations were held throughout California.
As part of our War Comes Home initiative, 43 library systems across the state presented reading and discussion programs, oral history collection, story-sharing projects, art-making activities, community forums and dialogues, presentations and panel discussions, film screenings, and civic engagement and community service projects to support veterans and their families. Over 240 branch libraries were involved, along with hundreds of community partners, including local veteran- and active military-serving organizations, schools, colleges, museums, cultural organizations, social service organizations, government agencies, and booksellers.
Karl Marlantes toured and spoke with community audiences in Northern and Southern California.
We want YOU to participate!
- Read the book! Get a copy from your local bookseller or library or through online vendors.
- Attend programs at your local participating CA Reads library (click for map).
- Organize a reading group at your workplace, school, veterans agency, or civic or faith-based organization, using our free discussion guide which includes questions, an author interview, and other helpful resources. Special discounts on bulk purchases are available through the publisher – contact Felicia Kelley for details.
- Share the high school curriculum developed by the California History-Social Science Project with teachers in your community. This free curriculum is designed for 11th & 12th grade history and civics classes and aligns with state and national standards.
- For more information you can access recorded webinars and a map of the current round of awarded libraries below:
California Reads is a program of California Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.
What’s your story, California?
As one of the most culturally diverse states in the nation, California’s fascinating history is woven from millions of personal narratives by the people who call this extraordinary place “home.” Community Stories (formerly the California Story Fund) is pleased to share some of these stories, in hopes that they may help us all find common ground, appreciate our differences, and learn to live well together.
Click HERE to see a list of past and present Community Stories projects.
Through 2014, as part of our War Comes Home initiative, Community Stories is focusing on veteran-related storytelling projects:
California War Letters Preservation Project
Chapman University, Orange
Project Director: John Benitz
Wartime letters provide a unique window into the hearts and minds of our warriors, their families, and communities. Focusing on California veterans, playwright John Benitz and historian Andrew Carroll are partnering with veteran organizations to collect, archive, and share letters online in text and audio formats, along with scholar-developed background materials. Related performance pieces share collected stories and encourage new community contributions. $10,000
Common Threads: The Veteran Experience in Central California
White Ash Broadcasting/Valley Public Radio, Fresno
Project Director: Joe Moore
This five-part radio documentary series promotes greater understanding by exploring the experiences of a multigenerational, multicultural group of Valley veterans. Multimedia content and two live on-air forums supplement the broadcasts and archives on the station’s website. Produced by Valley Public Radio in collaboration with the Central California War Veterans Oral
History Project at CSU Fresno. $10,000
The EchoTheaterSuitcase Project
CounterPULSE, San Francisco
Project Director: Krista DeNio
This project provides opportunities for veterans and civilian communities to reflect on stories of war and its aftermath, through the use of interactive theater installations that help break through the cultural silence and bring diverse groups together for dialogue. Performances start in San Francisco and Davis (through fall 2015), and then expand into other parts of California. Recorded performances, stories from project participants, and community responses available online. $10,000
Echoes of War
Playhouse Arts, Arcata
Project Director: Jacqueline Dandeneau
Using a “storybus” (mobile recording studio) and other imaginative strategies, project staff work with local veteran, Native, and community organizations to collect and archive stories from Northcoast residents about the impact of war on their lives. Stories will be woven into a dramatic piece, with performances and discussions edited for broadcast on a local public radio station on Veterans Day 2015. $10,000
Healing the Wounds of War Through Community—A History of the Vietnam War Generation
Vietnam Veterans of California, Santa Rosa
Project Director: Peter Cameron
Documenting the compelling story of Vietnam veterans who created grassroots self-help social service organizations and “communities of care” to address the needs of returning service members, this project shares the oral histories of a group of Northern California veterans who were instrumental in this national movement. Videotaped interviews and contextual materials can be accessed online and through public and campus-based programming. $10,000
Memories & Meaning: Fresno’s Veterans Day Parade
Fresno County Public Library, Fresno
Project Director: Nance Espinosa
Exploring the meaning and significance of the largest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi, this project gathers and records stories from 20 Fresno veterans of different eras, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The interactive website features video interviews, digital stories, texts and transcripts, background materials, and a platform for story-sharing and dialogue. $10,000
The Montford Point Marines of San Diego
San Diego Unified School District, San Diego
Project Director: Elneda Shannon
Through a school-community partnership organized by Project Ujima, students and their families will work with project staff and advisors to share stories from the first group of African-Americans to serve in the USMC. Digital storytelling and performances at schools, libraries, and other community settings will encourage greater awareness and understanding of the challenges and achievements of these California veterans. $9,986.35
Wild Blue Yonder
Riverside Art Museum, Riverside
Project Director: Drew Oberjuerge
The museum’s interactive multimedia exhibit raises community awareness by featuring the faces and voices of area veterans, drawing on interviews by author Susan Straight and photography by Douglass McCulloh. Supported by public programming activities and enhanced with additional online resources, the exhibit illuminates the life experiences of veterans, as well as the social and economic development of the region and state. $10,000
University Corporation, CSU Monterey Bay, Seaside
Project Director: Enid Baxter Blader
Stories about Fort Ord, the largest decommissioned military base in the western United States, will be highlighted in this interactive exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of History and Art. Drawing on oral histories from more than 250 veteran and community narratives, the exhibit shares a rich but largely unknown history through audio and video recordings, visual art, maps, photographs, objects, archival material, and content contributed by visitors. Public programs and a website extend the project’s reach. $10,000
Contra Costa County Library Jurisdiction, Pleasant Hill
Project Director: Chris Brown
Featuring images and stories from local veterans, this virtual interpretive exhibit of tattoo art offers veterans a means to reflect on their identity and experience and non-veterans a window into this culture. Supplemented with contextual material and resources to support veteran reintegration, this artistic exhibit will be launched on Veterans Day 2014. $10,000
Since 2003, California Humanities has supported approximately 400 story projects that have enabled communities to voice, record, and share histories—many previously untold or little known—through video, photography, murals, zines, documentary theater, audio projects, and more.
WAR COMES HOME: IN SCHOOLS
How do we learn about the experiences and perspectives of veterans? Do our schools provide space for veterans’ voices?
California Humanities has partnered with the California History-Social Science Project—the state’s K-16 collaborative dedicated to providing the highest quality history instruction—to improve how California’s teachers teach and their students learn about veterans’ experiences and the issues facing those returning home from war.
Participants of this teacher development program receive:
- Free access to the online instructional toolkit
- A copy ofWhat it is Like to Go to War, by Karl Marlantes while supplies last
- Priority registration for a live War Comes Home event hosted by Cal Humanities
- Engaging online webinars
- Cultural sensitivity training
- A special in-person teaching symposium, scheduled for June 20, 2015 at the San Diego County Office of Education
- $200 stipend for completion of all War Comes Home:In Schools activities
Visit CHSSP’s site for more information and to register for this program! Space is limited to 40 teachers.
RESOURCES AND WEBINAR RECORDINGS
Thank you to all who participated in the February 3rd, 2015 webinar titled, Coming Home: Lessons Learned and Not Learned from Vietnam Veterans’ Experiences. For those of you who were unable to attend please visit the CHSSP website for the recording and presentation PDF here.
This program is presented in partnership with the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP).
WAR COMES HOME: INTERVIEWS
Experience the humanities through these video interviews about a range of topics with veterans and those who work with veterans.
In Summer 2014 California Humanities interviewed veterans, scholars, advocates, and caretakers about what it means to come home from war. Our goal was to create a series of interviews that reflects the diversity of experience and perspective of veterans of different eras, backgrounds, and conflicts and help to build bridges of understanding between those who have served and those who have not.
Please click on HERE for full imagery and content from our current site to be moved over to the new site.
LITERATURE & MEDICINE
Healing has as much to do with the soul as the body. So how can the humanities be a support to our healthcare system—and to some of our most vulnerable patients, wounded veterans? Our answer has been to begin to offer the Literature & Medicine program to VA hospitals in California.
This program has shown it can help improve the quality of patient care through having hospital workers engage in deep conversations about the circumstances that brought their patients into their care. Facilitated discussion about issues revealed by poetry, plays, personal narratives, and films uncover realities of people’s lives that no x-ray can.
Since 2009, Cal Humanities has been working with VA hospitals—now in Fresno, Palo Alto, and Sacramento—to train staff and scholar-facilitators, and provide literature and ongoing technical assistance as well as stipends. Our involvement in Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® is part of a national effort initiated by the Maine Humanities Council to improve health care through humanities approaches that increase the ability of caregivers to empathize with and better communicate with patients, family members, and peers. This program has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Veterans Administration, and private funders.
For more information, contact Senior Program Officer Felicia Kelley.
WAR COMES HOME: PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS
California Humanities hosted five public forums focusing on themes relating to veterans, from the traumas of war to Hollywood and mythmaking to the changing faces of veterans. These conversations took place in at public libraries in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Riverside, and Los Angeles in Summer 2014. The videos of these panel discussions will be available on our website in October 2014.
WAR COMES HOME: THE LEGACY
This fall, see the banner exhibit that presents veterans’ perspectives through letters and journals from history. Easy to install and travel, War Comes Home: The Legacy is available for libraries, colleges, small museums, cultural centers, and more. (A partnership with Exhibit Envoy)