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Veterans in History Symposium

Event Details

  • Wednesday, November 30, 2022
  • 4:30-6:30 pm
  • Newman Library Multipurpose Room

In American society, military veterans are symbols of service, but the actual experiences of veterans are too often ignored.  

Please join us for a panel conversation on "Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History," with co-editors John M. Kinder and Jason A. Higgins, and contributors Heather Marie Stur and Robert F. Jefferson. Each guest will discuss the unique experiences of people who have been forgotten or excluded from recognition of military service in history, including African Americans, LGBTQ people, veterans with disabilities, and veterans in the criminal justice system. Our conversation will debunk the myth of “the veteran’s experience” and highlight the importance of centering marginalized groups of veterans in American history.   

Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History by John M. Kinder (Editor), Jason A. Higgins (Editor)

“Wartime military service is held up as a marker of civic duty and patriotism, yet the rewards of veteran status have never been equally distributed. Certain groups of military veterans—women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and former service members with stigmatizing conditions, “bad paper” discharges, or criminal records—have been left out of official histories, excised from national consciousness, and denied state recognition and military benefits.

Chronicling the untold stories of marginalized veterans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, "Service Denied" uncovers the generational divides, cultural stigmas, and discriminatory policies that affected veterans during and after their military service. Together, the chapters in this collection recast veterans beyond the archetype, inspiring an innovative model for veterans studies that encourages an intersectional and interdisciplinary analysis of veterans history. In addition to contributions from the volume editors, this collection features scholarship by Barbara Gannon, Robert Jefferson, Evan P. Sullivan, Steven Rosales, Heather Marie Stur, Juan Coronado, Kara Dixon Vuic, John Worsencroft, and David Kieran.” 


Jason A. Higgins

Jason A. Higgins is a postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities and oral history at Virginia Tech, jointly affiliated with the Center for Humanities, Virginia Tech Publishing, and the History Department. He earned a Ph.D. in History and a graduate certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying Modern US/Global and African American History. He is the director of the Incarcerated Veterans Oral History Project, which documents the experiences of formerly incarcerated veterans. Dr. Higgins is also the co-editor of Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern US History, which was published by UMass Press in July 2022. His first monograph: “Stars, Bars & Stripes: A History of Incarcerated Veterans Since the Vietnam War,” is under contract with UMass Press to be included in the Veterans series and is currently under peer-review. 

John M. Kinder

John M. Kinder is director of American Studies and Associate Professor of History at Oklahoma State University. A scholar of war and society, he is the author of Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and co-editor, with Jason Higgins, of Service Denied: Marginalized Veterans in Modern American History (University of Massachusetts Press, 2022). He is current projects include The Ark and the Flood: How Zoos Survived World War II (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) and “They Are Dead, and Yet They Live”: Civil War Memories in a Polarized America (under contract with the University of Nebraska Press.)

Robert F. Jefferson, Jr.

Robert F. Jefferson, Jr. is the director of the Africana Studies Program and an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jefferson holds the Ph.D. in African American History from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the relationship between race, gender, and citizenship in Twentieth Century United States history. He is the author of Fighting for Hope: African Americans and the Ninety-third Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) that was nominated for the William Colby Book Prize. He is currently working on a second book titled Color and Disability: The Many Lives of Vasco Hale in Twentieth Century America.

Heather M. Stur

Heather Marie Stur, Ph.D., is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and senior fellow in the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society. She is the author of Saigon at War: South Vietnam and the Global Sixties (Cambridge 2020), The U.S. Military and Civil Rights Since World War II (ABC-CLIO 2019), and Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era (Cambridge 2011). She is also co-editor of Integrating the U.S. Military: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation Since World War II (Johns Hopkins 2017). Dr. Stur is the author of numerous articles, which have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, National Interest, Orange County Register, Diplomatic History, War & Society, and other journals and newspapers. In 2013-14, Dr. Stur was a Fulbright scholar in Vietnam, where she was a visiting professor on the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. Her forthcoming book is 21 Days to Baghdad: General Buford Blount and the 3rd Infantry Division in the Iraq War (Osprey 2023).


This event is sponsored by the Center for Humanities with the support of Virginia Tech Publishing and the Athenaeum. 

How to Attend

The symposium will also be live-streamed and available at the Center for Humanities' YouTube channel.

If you plan to attend either in person or online, please register here.