CALL FOR ARTICLES: Issue n. 5 (2022) – “Science, Technology, and the Close Encounters in War”

We are happy to announce that the round for submitting contributions to the Close Encounters in War Journal is now open for the next issue of 2022, n. 5, which is devoted to the topic “Science, Technology and the Close Encounters in War”.

Download the CFA in pdf here

Since prehistoric flint-headed arrows and spears evolved from hunting tools into weapons, all the different peoples introduced technological innovations that changed the face of warfare. Hittites fought on charts; the Greek infantry consisted of heavy-armoured hoplites; the Roman legionnaires fought with the deadly iron gladius and invented innovative war-machines and techniques to besiege enemy cities and fortify their own positions; the Frank horsemen used the stirrup to ride stably on horses, thus giving birth to modern cavalry. In medieval Japan, the Samurais fought with the katana, a sword that was a masterpiece of metallurgy and craftsmanship. During the sixteenth century, firearms appeared on the European battlefields, which changed warfare forever (also inspiring Ludovico Ariosto’s contempt for such a non-heroic way of fighting). Although hand-to-hand weapons remained the first source of wounding until the early twentieth century, artillery gained an increasingly dominant role on the battlefield, especially during the Napoleonic campaigns in Europe (1803-1815) and the American Civil War (1861-1865), with significant psychological effects on the soldiers. The increase in firepower rocketed in twentieth-century wars as the millions of shells of all calibres – including gas bombs – fired on the western front between 1914 and 1918 show. During the Second World War hundreds of thousands of tons of explosives were dropped over Europe and Japan and two atom bombs destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which started the cold war and the era of the nuclear deterrent, a new form of technological and strategic warfare.

War involves science and technology not only with regard to increasing the destructivity of weapons. One may mention, for example, the effort made by a team of British scientists led by mathematician Alan Turing to crack the German coding-machine Enigma during the Second World War. New techniques in healing the wounded and sick soldiers were developed during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and since then war has represented an opportunity to experiment with new surgical treatments to cure septic affections, wounds, fractures, concussion, poisoning, mutilation, and so on, which has also given impulse to the implementation of state-of-the-art medical equipment and high-tech prosthetics. As far as industry and scientific research is undeniably involved with warfare, scientists, technicians, and technologists strive to find new ways of mitigating the negative impact of war. Chemists, physicists, engineers, medical doctors, and other scientists made enormous efforts to support the fighting troops by carrying out a parallel and often obscure battle in laboratories, offices, and factories. The intertwining of science, technology, and war is therefore a complex and fascinating aspect of the history of war that tells much about how our perception of warfare has evolved through time.

Issue n. 5 of CEIWJwill investigate the theme of close encounters in war in connection to scientific and technological development by exploring its facets on a micro-scale, by studying individual testimonies and experiences, and from the theoretical and critical perspectives throughout history. We invite, in accordance with the scientific purpose of the journal, contributions that focus on the human dimension and perspective rather than on the broader understanding of how science, technology and war have affected each other in general. We, therefore, seek articles that analyse the close encounter in war with science and technology from the point of view of human experience, in ancient, modern and contemporary periods.

The following questions (among others) may be taken into account:

  • How has the close encounter with technological novelties in war over diverse historical periods, from ancient conflicts to cyber-war, affected witnesses and their narratives (e.g. chemical warfare; biological warfare; nuclear warfare; explosives and firearms; shell-shock; firearms vs. hand-to-hand combat weapons; etc.)?
  • How is the close encounter with science and technology in war approached in oral history and personal narratives?
  • How is the close encounter with science and technology in war approached in literature, cinema and TV, photography, ICT, and the media?
  • How does technology affect the representation of the close encounter in war, for example, through photography, digital imaging, satellites, drones, ICT, and videogames;
  • To what extent do scientists/technologists participate in war through their work and with which ethical implications (e.g. from the perspectives of physics, nuclear research, chemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering)?
  • How does the close encounter with science and technology in war affects the human response to violence, for example through ICT?
  • What relation does connect technology, trauma, and healing (e.g. war medicine as a form of close encounter in war concerning healing techniques, history of war medicine and Medical Corps, war and prosthetics, war and mutilation, trauma, and PTSD)?
  • What are the psychological and ethical implications of encountering science and technology in war?
  • Can the close encounter with science and technology in war help understand the relationship between humans and their environment, for example, concerning the Anthropocene, the impact of technological warfare on the environment, the deployment of animals in war, and the exploitation of natural resources.

CEIWJ encourages inter/multidisciplinary approaches and dialogue among different scientific fields to promote discussion and scholarly research. The blending of the Humanities with such disciplines as Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Ethology, Medicine, Physics, and similar will be warmly welcome. Contributions from established scholars, early-career researchers, and practitioners who have dealt with the close encounter with science and technology in war in the course of their activities will be considered. Case studies may include different historical periods and geographic areas.

The editors of Close Encounters in War Journal invite the submission of abstracts of 250 words in English by 28 February 2022 to ceiwj@nutorevelli.org. The authors invited to submit their works will be required to send articles of 6000-8000 words (endnotes included, bibliographical references not included in word-count: please see submission guidelines at https://closeencountersinwar.org/instruction-for-authors-submissions/) in English by 15 June 2022 to ceiwj@nutorevelli.org. All articles will undergo a process of double-blind peer-review. We will notify the results of the peer-reviewing in September 2022. Final versions of revised articles will be submitted by November of 2022.

Announcement: Potomac Fiber Arts Guild

Event on Zoom, 8th January 2022

https://potomacfiberartsguild.org/january-8-2022-tappert-and-matott/?fbclid=IwAR1GGH_6yo0zgn5sPHjwioCiX3gTXpxuQ6tK8yjMd19bA63yI8Fsp7EVxAQ

Trauma – Truth Telling – Transition with Tara Leigh Tappert and Drew Matott

This presentation documents the long history of artmaking within military life and as an aspect of the cultural history of war. It demonstrates how creativity has been and remains a powerful outlet for healing and transitioning from the traumas of war. In the 20th century the American military incorporated the use of crafts in two major service areas. During and after WWI occupational therapy and vocational training were rehabilitation tools; and during and after WWII recreational therapy was a leisure activity intended to promote a sense of well-being and efficacy. In the 21st century the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan inspired such top-down government art therapy programs as Creative Forces at the National Endowment for the Arts. Complementing the current government-led programs are many grassroots arts initiatives for veterans, military family members, and refugees displaced by war. Two groups – Combat Paper Project and Peace Paper Project – have used the detailed and methodical papermaking process as a tool to address the traumas of war.

Book Review: Claire Langhamer, Lucy Noakes and Claudia Siebrecht (eds.). “Total War. An Emotional History”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000

By Simona Tobia

Total War. An Emotional History features some of the most renowned scholars in the fields of the history of emotions and war and culture studies, but the value of the book goes well beyond the expertise of its authors. The eight studies in this edited collection place “the emotions of war centre stage” (Langhamer, Noakes & Siebrecht, Total War: 1) and investigate the intensity and impact of emotions in the total wars of the 20th century. By proposing to use “emotions” as an analytical tool, they also recognize the transformative power of these emotions and consider their linguistic, cultural and physiological dimensions. The volume’s methodological thrust is to use the “expression of emotion” as an analytical category and to study the “emotional agency of historical actors” to then reach new conclusions on motivation and causation in the context of total war.

Download the full review here

Review: “Coming Home in Viet Nam”. Poems by Edward Tick

San Fernando, CA: Tia Chucha Press, 2021. 187 pages

Seeking the most powerful healing practices to address the invisible wounds of war, Dr. Ed Tick has led journeys to Viet Nam for veterans, survivors, activists and pilgrims for the past twenty years. This moving and revelatory collection documents the people, places and experiences on these journeys. It illuminates the soul-searching and healing that occurs when Vietnamese women and children and veterans of every faction of the “American War” gather together to share storytelling and ritual, grieving, reconciliation and atonement. These poems reveal war’s aftermath for Vietnamese and Americans alike and their return to peace, healing and belonging in the very land torn by war’s horrors.

Download and read the review of the book here

Obituary: “I am not a pacifist. I am against the war”. Gino Strada (1948-2021)

Gino Strada, 10 Settembre 2010, Mandela Forum, 9th National Congress of Emergency, Florence ©maso83

One of the most noticeable people in the field of solidarity has left us: Gino Strada, founder of the NGO Emergency in 1994, which guaranteed free medical and surgical care to the victims of wars and poverty, and a critical spirit against the corruption of Italian health, and the EU arms trade policy.

Gino Strada graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the State University of Milan in 1978, at the age of 30, and specialized in emergency surgery. From 1988 he worked with the Red Cross to assist the war wounded. Then in 1994, together with his wife Teresa Sarti, Strada founded the NGO Emergency, which in 2006 was recognized as a partner of the United Nations. From 2015 he became a member of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and, in 2018, an official partner of the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.

In 1999 he published the book Green Parrots (Pappagalli verdi). He recounts there the stories of injured and mutilated adults and children, whom he tended as a civilian war surgeon during the wars in Iraq, Pakistan, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Peru, Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Angola, Cambodia, ex-Yugoslavia, and Djibouti.

Gino Strada was a determined and moral person, a teacher of humanity and a tireless peace activist. He devoted his life to realizing the dream of a world without wars, following in Einstein’s steps, who claimed that “war cannot be humanized, it can only be abolished”.

Gino Strada said:

If one of us, any human being, is suffering like a dog right now, is sick or hungry, it affects us all. It must concern us all, because ignoring human suffering is always an act of violence, and one of the most cowardly.

I believe that war is something that represents the greatest shame of humanity. And I think that the human brain must develop to the point of rejecting this tool as inhuman.

New release: Warrior Songs releases third CD, featuring songs by Vietnam vets

The Last Thing We Ever Do:  Vietnam Era Veterans Speak Truth will be officially released on August 8 to coincide with the 57th anniversary of the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Warrior Songs third CD, The Last Thing We Ever Do:  Vietnam Era Veterans Speak Truth, will be officially released on August 8 to coincide with the 57th anniversary of the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  The CD, featuring 14 cuts, is a collaboration of 19 Vietnam vets with 21 professional musicians and songwriters to create an eclectic compilation of rock, jazz, blues, and blue grass-inspired stories of the war and its aftereffects.  The project involved 81 studio musicians and 14 studios in the United States and Vietnam.  A total of 109 artists, 17 of whom are Vietnamese, were involved in creating the CD.  The diversity of musical styles mirrors the diversity of the stories, from the Selective Service System to combat to coping with returning to the U.S., civilian life, and moral injury.  In all, the songs on the CD chart the three stages of war: “going, there, and back.” 

Warrior Songs was founded in 2011 by Iraq War veteran Jason Moon, who, diagnosed with PTSD, attempted suicide.  He began to write songs about his experiences, and in 2010 released the CD Trying to Find My Way Home.  This led to performances at educational sessions for non-vets and veterans’ retreats, which in turn led to vets sharing their stories with him.  He realized that music could be an agency of healing for others if he could transform the stories into songs with the help of professional musicians and songwriters.  He founded Warrior Songs in 2011, and the first CD, If You Have to Ask . . ., with Moon as executive producer, was released in 2016.  The CD Women at War: Warrior Songs Vol. 2 was released in 2018 and represents the first time in the history of modern music that a full length CD was created from the testimony of women veterans.  Eighteen women veterans and two Gold Star family members supplied testimony.  17 songwriters and 64 professional musicians brought the songs to life. 13 engineers, working in recording studios across five states, created the final recordings.  In total, “Warrior Songs Vol. 2: Women at War” was produced by the collaboration of 95 people, of whom 49 were women.  Women at War won the Wisconsin Area Music Award Album of the Year for 2019.

Moon has long-range plans for Warrior Songs.  Volume 4 featuring songs by veterans of color is scheduled for a 2023 release.  Future themes are “Family, Friends, and Support,” “Native and Indigenous Voices,” “Injured and Disabled Veterans,” “Rainbow Warriors/LGBTQ ,” “Tales from the Combat Zone,” and “Women Veterans of Color.”  By 2030 he hopes to release volumes 1 through 10 as a full box set.   A supplementary 11th volume will explore the experiences of survivors of US wars. 

The new CD, as well as volumes 1 and 2, are free for veterans and are available from Warriorsongs.org.

(text by Larry Abbott)

Excerpts from the CD songs (courtesy from Warrior Songs):

Conscription

I’ve seen the war on television, seems so far away.

It could be me there on the screen, could happen any day.

Rice paddies, helicopters, Agent Orange and a jungle trail,

 Body bags and stretchers, all while the mothers wail.

And will they call my name?

 When I learn my fate?

 Will I come home again?

Oh, conscription.

(Lyrics: John Zutz & Danny Proud; Music: Lisa Johnson)

Disquieted Mind

As we burned your reality down

And I would hold you blameless 

If you’d only want me gone 

But I was cold

And you’ve been kind 

And you have kept me warm

And I’m not home

And I’ll never be home again

But I’ll take off my shoes 

And sleep on your floor if you’ll let me in

And I could never blame you

If you want to send me back where I’m from

But if you let me stay here

I can build you something out of my love

Take it or leave it

It’s a trivial gift

But there’s a thing that I’m building

From silence

And a hammer that cracks in the wind

(Jeff Mitchell and Steve Gunn)

“Suicide monologue”. A testimony by Everett Cox

One steamy night, the summer of 1969, at Marble Mt. Air Base near Da Nang in Viet Nam, a rocket exploded near me and I died. There was screaming, explosions, dust, smoke, chaos; I had no torn flesh, no blood in the dust, but I died.

My flesh did not die but I had shattered. In death, I became a ghost. In life, a shadow. The ghost dominated the shadow. That domination has meant self-destructive behavior, an obsession with suicide and suicide attempts. Self destruction. Who, what is self? My body? My heart? My spirit? I had to destroy all that might be self. I had to destroy  self completely, my complete self, even though there was no complete me.

Read full text here