This post is a re-blogged except from a recent post by Benjamin Schrader, Daphne Inbar and Aviad Levy on the War and Narrative blog.
This valuable contribution to the War Stories blog picks up key issues regarding reflexivity and the role of veterans as scholars/academics. What is the value of war experience as the basis of scholarship? What do veterans’ voices add to critical commentary on war and the military that other voices might miss? The post summarises a lively panel discussion at this year’s EISA conference in Prague in which Ben Schrader, Daphne Inbar, and Aviad Levy led the debate with critical insights into their own experiences as veteran-academics:
Reading an interview with a soldier, conducted by a scholar who had never served in the military, I (Ben) was struck by how much was being said “in-between” the lines by the soldier that the researcher seemed to have missed. Annoyed, I realized that it was because of my time in the military that I understood what that soldier was talking about. I reflected on my own interviews with veterans and remembered many of them telling me that they felt so much more comfortable talking to me in these interviews rather than other academics or journalists because we spoke the same language and went through many of the same ordeals. So upon this reflection I decided to further examine this idea of what it means to be a veteran and a scholar looking at issues of war. I first contacted Sarah Bulmer who has written about similar issues with another veteran academic, David Jackson, and Paul Higate, a veteran who has done a lot of work around veterans and masculinity. I began searching for other academics who were veterans in our field to start new conversations on these issues. (War and Narrative Blog, Oct 2 2018)