Paper Title

Women in the Military: oral Narratives from the VA Clinic Women's Group in Rock Hill, SC

Panel

Roundtable - Women in the Military: Oral Narratives from the VA Clinic Women's Group in Rock Hill, SC

Location

Room 217, West Center

Start Date

1-4-2016 5:00 PM

End Date

1-4-2016 6:15 PM

Keywords

oral history, women

Abstract

Two Winthrop students—English majors Kate Burt and Deshawna Castillo—and I are visiting the women’s group at the VA Clinic in Rock Hill, collecting narratives about the women’s experiences in various branches of the military. The span of wars that some of women have witnessed range from the Viet Nam war to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many women in the group were part of the push to integrate women into more roles in the service. What is apparent this early in the narrative collection is how the women note the stereotypes about themselves and about their military experiences. For example, despite some the road blocks that may have hindered their progress in the military, most of the women see their military career as positive, viewing their careers as a kind of family that they longingly miss. They also have noted how many civilians see veterans as war mongers, a label they see as misinformed.

The narratives to be presented at the conference will highlight the differences between how these women veterans have been viewed by others, and how their experiences illustrate a much more complicated picture of being women in the military, especially in terms of “gender, race, class, and sexuality.” The panel will include three to four women veterans from the group reading their narratives as well as the students reading narratives from some of the other women veterans. The panel will conclude with the students responding to what they have learned from the narratives. Kate Burt will respond as a civilian commenting on what insights she has discovered from the narratives. Deshawna Castillo will compare and contrast her experiences as a recent veteran to the experiences of the women in the group.

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Apr 1st, 5:00 PM Apr 1st, 6:15 PM

Women in the Military: oral Narratives from the VA Clinic Women's Group in Rock Hill, SC

Room 217, West Center

Two Winthrop students—English majors Kate Burt and Deshawna Castillo—and I are visiting the women’s group at the VA Clinic in Rock Hill, collecting narratives about the women’s experiences in various branches of the military. The span of wars that some of women have witnessed range from the Viet Nam war to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many women in the group were part of the push to integrate women into more roles in the service. What is apparent this early in the narrative collection is how the women note the stereotypes about themselves and about their military experiences. For example, despite some the road blocks that may have hindered their progress in the military, most of the women see their military career as positive, viewing their careers as a kind of family that they longingly miss. They also have noted how many civilians see veterans as war mongers, a label they see as misinformed.

The narratives to be presented at the conference will highlight the differences between how these women veterans have been viewed by others, and how their experiences illustrate a much more complicated picture of being women in the military, especially in terms of “gender, race, class, and sexuality.” The panel will include three to four women veterans from the group reading their narratives as well as the students reading narratives from some of the other women veterans. The panel will conclude with the students responding to what they have learned from the narratives. Kate Burt will respond as a civilian commenting on what insights she has discovered from the narratives. Deshawna Castillo will compare and contrast her experiences as a recent veteran to the experiences of the women in the group.