"a dialogue between Charleston veterans, their families, and the most powerful voices that have ever spoken to the experience of war"
Western literature is rooted in the story of going to war together and coming home alone. This is the story that encompasses Homer's foundational epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and it echoes down the centuries. For three thousand years poets and writers have been celebrating the courage that leads soldiers to war and lamenting the often unanticipated challenges that await them off the battlefield. In face of the sheer inexpressibility of war, they have strived to bridge between the battlefield and the home front.
Bridging Between contributes to that noble and humane effort by fostering a dialogue between Charleston veterans, their families, and the most powerful voices that have ever spoken to the experience of war. Participants read and discuss works spanning from Homer’s time to our own, applying their own perspectives to these works and allowing them to broaden and enhance their perspectives in turn. A true dialogue, Bridging Between also crucially gives participants the opportunity to answer the calls of these poets and writers by memorializing their own thoughts and experiences in writing. Through reading, writing, and discussion, they will fulfill the greatest promise of the humanities by expanding their community far beyond their own place and time.
Extremely relevant literature; sessions allowed participants to be more comfortable with one another; I would encourage others to participate as it provides lots of insight into service experiences. (Veteran)
The format allowed each participant to be open with their thoughts and feelings about their wartime experiences. I also enjoyed the thoughtfully picked readings. It has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what veterans experience. I’m very thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained and would definitely encourage others to participate. (Family Member of a Veteran)
I gained more benefit from six weeks of Bridging Between than two years of PTSD counseling. (Veteran)
It helped me contextualize war in a new way, to normalize some of the challenges facing our veterans by seeing similarities across cultures and centuries. It made me want to share these writings with veterans to show them they are not alone. It seems so important to stress that the norm is to come back from war a changed person, and many of the writings express this quite eloquently. It was interesting to be reminded of what an important role war once played in society – that warriors were once exalted and their stories passed down through the generations. War is so compartmentalized now, so many stories are going untold. I told everyone I knew about the class. (Professional Counselor at the VA)
I did not feel any connection with the (much younger) undergraduates in my classes. Professor Ganaway talked to me about the course, and it was a great way to connect with other vets once a week. I have many veterans in my family and I always wondered why they initially discouraged me from joining the Marines. Now I see that they just wanted to protect me from what they had gone through. (Veteran and College Student)
I liked the opportunity the seminar offered to build on what I was learning in my classes. They also let me bring my two-year-old daughter. She ate tangerines and played on the iPad while we all talked. (Veteran and College Student)
Post and Courier article on Bridging Between.
Director, International Scholars Program
Faculty Fellow & Head of Advising
Honors College, College of Charleston
Professor Ganaway earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003. His teaching and research focuses on modern Germany, particularly the period from 1890 to 1918. His first book Toys, Consumption, and Middle-class Childhood in Imperial Germany came out from Peter Lang in 2010. His current book project deals with war as cultural event that leaves participants changed in ways they did not expect by focusing on the last year of World War I. He teaches classes for the Honors College, International Studies, and the History Department at the College of Charleston. He directs the International Scholars, a collaboration between the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs and the Honors College designed to bring nationally competitive undergraduates to the College of Charleston. He was managing editor for H-German, one of the largest digital humanities journals In North America, from 2010-2012.
Department of English
College of Charleston
Professor Russell earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, and in that same year joined the faculty at the College of Charleston. He teaches courses on composition and early modern literature and culture, focusing primarily on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English poetry, the reception, translation, and imitation of ancient Greek and Roman literature, and the history of rhetoric, poetics, and literary criticism. He has published articles on the history of literary criticism and on such early modern poets and critics as Andrew Marvell and Ben Jonson. His current book project explores how early modern English writers negotiated the role of the literary critic.