Coming Home At U.C. Santa Barbara

The late Professor Walter Capps taught a pioneering—and legendary—course on the Vietnam War from 1978-1994 at the University of California’s scenic Santa Barbara campus. One of the innovative features of the class, called The Impact of the Vietnam War on American Religion and Culture, was Capps’ pioneering use of bringing Vietnam veterans in to talk to the students. Capps, a Professor of Religious Studies, gave up teaching after he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The course continued, however, and is now in its 29th year. It has been taught since 1995 by religious studies professor Richard Hecht, and has been expanded to include the experiences of America’s most recent veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars. “When Capps began the course, it focused on welcoming the Vietnam veterans home and providing an environment for them to narrate their experiences, ” Hecht says. “In recent years, the course has focused on what Hecht called “binding the generations together.”

The news from Santa Barbara is that former students will gather on April 26th for a reunion of his renowned class, the first in the country to examine the effects of the Vietnam War on American society. The celebratory reunion class will be held from 1:30 to 3:00, Professor Hecht will moderate the reunion class. The event is free and open to the public. For info, call 805-893-5289.

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