By Erik Maloney and Bailey Fernandez
Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ECL Teaching Associate Professor Hilary Lithgow is codirecting the “Troops to Teachers” project with Andy Mink at the National Humanities Center. In June, the project held an intensive weeklong program for fourteen K-12 teachers with military backgrounds, and they are continuing to work with these educators to prepare events to bridge the civilian-military divide in their schools and communities.
“Their projects,” Lithgow writes, “are wonderfully diverse and creative.” Together they discussed a Mike Wiley play about the experiences of military spouses, heard from a panel of speakers about their experiences growing up in military families, and read a range of literature about military service. The teachers involved in the workshop will hold the events they’ve designed in the coming months, and the group will reconvene in January to share their experiences. This important public humanities project puts literature to work outside the classroom and aross the state.
Lithgow has worked in this area before. She has written, for example, about David Finkel’s memoir The Good Soldiers, which recounts his time embedded with an infantry battalion in Baghdad during the Iraq War. From 2014 to 2017, she co-facilitated Vets for Words, a book group for veterans which was also supported by the NEH.