AUSTIN, Texas—You can bring a soldier home from a war, but can you take the war out of the soldier? Scholars and war veterans will discuss this question at a week-long symposium Oct. 4-8 at The University of Texas at Austin.
The symposium, sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, begins with a visit to the ancient world of Homer, with a reading about the return of Odysseus, and moves to the returns of soldiers from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Speakers include Homeric scholar Stanley Lombardo, University of Kansas; classicist Leon Golden, Florida State University; historian Elaine Tyler May, University of Minnesota; war veterans Bill Ehrhart and Rolando Hinojosa Smith; and journalists Robert Timberg and Wallace Terry.
Unless specified, all events are scheduled to be held in the Leeds Gallery on the fourth floor of the Flawn Academic Center.
Lombardo makes Homer come alive in American translations for today’s students, according to Dr. Paul Woodruff, director of the UT Plan II Honors Program. “He gives spellbinding performances of passages from Homer, as he revives the ancient tradition of the rhapsodes — traveling performers of ancient Greece who could reduce an audience to tears with their recitations of Homer,” Woodruff said. Lombardo will kick off the symposium with a reading on Monday night (Oct. 4) at 8 p.m. in Jessen Auditorium.
Golden is an expert on Greek tragedy, who has written widely about war. He will give a talk on the theme of returns from war in Greek tragedy, Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Flawn Academic Center, Room 21. May is an expert on the history of the American family in the cold war period. She will speak on “From Bombshells to Wedding Bells: G.I. Joe Comes Home” Wednesday (Oct. 6) at 8 p.m..
Terry, who was the first Black journalist to cover the war in Vietnam, is the author of an acclaimed oral history of Black veterans, Bloods. He will give a multimedia presentation based on his book, Thursday (Oct. 7) at 7 p.m., after an introduction from Austin screenwriter and Marine veteran, Bill Broyles.
Timberg, a marine veteran and journalist for the Baltimore Sun, is author of The Nightingale’s Song, a comparison of the lives of five famous graduates of the Naval Academy, including Oliver North and John McCain. He will speak Friday (Oct. 8) at 4 p.m. on the rupture in American life and politics that resulted from the Vietnam War. He will be introduced by Howard Prince, a retired general who is now a visiting professor at the LBJ School.