The University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, in conjunction with the University’s Veterans Center, is offering Identity and Social Issues: Wounded Warriors: Veterans in Literature and Film, a class this summer taught by creative nonfiction instructor Stephen A Kuusisto. The class runs from June 9 to July 31 and meets twice a week on the Iowa City campus.
“Disability has always been a difficult subject in literature and film, ” the course description says. “Disabled characters often challenge cultural ideas of ‘normalcy’ while they also complicate the symbolism of the ‘heroic’ body. This course explores the contradictions in the representations of disability in literature and film by focusing on the experiences of veterans with disabilities.
Specifically we will analyze representations of veterans with disabilities in literature and film and seek to understand the wounded body in its political, social, and cultural contexts. Additionally we will explore how literature both reflects and distorts the experiences of returning veterans.”
The films and books the course cover will include several dealing with the Vietnam War, such as Ron Kovic’s primal scream of a memoir, Born on the Fourth of July and the accompanying film by Oliver Stone, and The Deer Hunter (above). It also includes the great post-WWII film the Best Years of our Lives , as well as selections from the writings of Toni Morrison, Ernest Hemingway, Tim O’Brien, Studs Terkel, and Norman Mailer.