Please join Bernard Schissel (Doctor of Social Sciences Program, Office of Interdisciplinary Studies) for his Roads to Research presentation entitled: War and Teenage Soldiers: A Study of Patriotism, Masculinity, and Desperation.
When: Noon-1pm, Wednesday, Feb. 20Where: Learning and Innovation Centre, 407 (Centre for Dialogue)
Coffee provided.Please bring your lunch. While the exploits and experiences of teenagers as soldiers in Western armies in 20th century wars have been chronicled in both fact-based and fictional accounts, analyses of how and why underage boys (and sometimes girls) ended up engaged in frontline military activities are quite uncommon. It appears that the realities of being a 14 or 15 year old soldier get lost in the overall history-based discourse of war. My research focuses on understanding why young people fought to get into armies, why their communities stood by them in their quest to be part of the fight for freedom, and why and how their families coped with loss—all of which stands in contrast to the moral logic that children and youth should not be exposed to war. I study letters and diaries of soldiers under the age of twenty--some as young as 13 or 14—from the WW1 through to the Gulf War to understand the reality of their lives and their deaths in wartime. The theoretical focus is based on a blend of studies in patriotism, masculinity and disadvantage.