In 2016, Virginia Tech became the only university nationally to host two prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes.

Veterans in Society: Ambiguities and Representations” explored what it means to be a military-service veteran in the United States.

“Societal perceptions of veterans are incomplete, reflecting a general lack of understanding about the small minority of citizens who serve on active duty,” says program co-director James Dubinsky, an associate professor of rhetoric and writing in the Department of English. Dubinsky hopes the institute will have a legacy in serving as a catalyst for building a national, interdisciplinary network of scholars in veterans studies.

Race and Mental Health in History and Literature” explored historic and literary portrayals of mental health among Africans and African Americans. “So much of the way we talk about race in the United States is political and local — the struggle from slavery to freedom, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement,” says Matthew Heaton, the associate professor of history who directed the program. “This seminar aimed to help us understand historically and artistically the ways that our conceptions of race shape both our ideas about human psychology and the experience of self.”