Madison Veterans for Peace Hosts Author Lisa Gilman for an Evening of “My Music, My War: Listening Habits of US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan”

   On Thursday evening, August 2nd, professor Lisa Gilman of George Mason University was a special guest of Chapter 25 at the community meeting room of the Urban League, 2222 S. Park St.   About 40 attended her hour-plus presentation on the unique subject of music played by troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (My Music, My War).  The contrast of this musical experience—from the sociology of the troops to the rapidly evolving technology that underpinned the music—was understandably different than that of the Vietnam War troop experience in the 1960’s—and earlier wars for that matter.  Those who attended the presentation a few years ago by UW-Madison authors Craig Werner and Doug Bradley (We Gotta Get Out of this Place) no doubt appreciated the distinctly different war worlds.  During her years of research for this book, Lisa also produced and directed Grounds for Resistance, a documentary film about the veteran-run anti-war coffee house, Coffee Strong.

We give credit to The University of Oregon for this very brief summary of  her book:

In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, technological developments in music listening enabled troops to carry vast amounts of music with them and easily acquire new music, for themselves and to share with their fellow troops as well as friends and loved ones far away. This ethnographic study examines U.S. troops’ musical-listening habits during and after war, and the accompanying fear, domination, violence, isolation, pain, and loss that troops experienced. My Music, My War is a moving ethnographic account of what war was like for those most intimately involved. It shows how individuals survive in the messy webs of conflicting thoughts and emotions that are intricately part of the moment-to-moment and day-to-day phenomenon of war, and the pervasive memories in its aftermath. It gives fresh insight into musical listening as it relates to social dynamics, gender, community formation, memory, trauma, and politics.

We were pleased to host this community presentation and grateful to Lisa Gilman for her visit.  The Chapter intends to continue engaging both its members and the community with more special programs.  Please join us if and when you can—mark your calendars!  A coming announcement:  A special musical program on Veterans Day-November 11-at the Barrymore Theater on Atwood Avenue.  Stay tuned.

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Fran introduces the evening’s subject and Professor Lisa Gilman (left)

Lisa Gilman responds to an audience question.

Gilman’s presentation drew approximately 40 members, Iraq-Afghanistan veterans and
members of the public.

Book signing and post-presentation conversation.  Left to right: Lisa Gilman, Norm Stockwell of the Progressive Magazine, and VFP member Daryl Sherman.

Professor Lisa Gilman and Chapter Coordinator Fran Wiedenhoeft.

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