War, Not War, and Peace: A Pulitzer Prize Centennial Series
“Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” Series at Oklahoma City University, Winter 2018
Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma (LTAIO) offers more than your average book club. The Oklahoma Humanities Council sponsors the reading program throughout the state, bringing readers together to discuss books on a theme, with the assistance of humanities scholars as facilitators. At each session, a Humanities scholar will make a 35-45 minute presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow the presentation so everyone can talk about the book.
Free copies of the books are available to borrow on a first-come/first-served basis, but because of demand, we ask that only those who plan to fully participate in our sessions borrow books. You are also welcome to attend sessions with your own copies of the books or borrow only the titles you need.
Books may be picked up during regular business hours Monday-Friday at OCU’s Dulaney-Browne Library Room 207. Note: campus will be closed during its holiday break, Dec. 22-Jan. 2.
About “War, Not War, and Peace”:
Too often, “peace” is simply the absence of active war. Ours is a country -– and culture -– forged in a crucible of war and conquest. What defines much of our national character is aggression, both its light and dark sides. The books chosen for this series reflect a deep commitment to presenting Pulitzer winners detailing both the active elements of war as well as the long-lived legacies of war, in those periods optimistically called “peace.” The fragmented peace/non-war axis is evident in all five of the texts, which span a history beginning with the Indian Wars (Empire), move to WWII (Maus and All the Light) and the Việtnam war (Things and Neon Vernacular), and culminate in contemporary time. Given the parameters of the Pulitzer grant, perspectives are as broad as possible: characters are black, white, mixed race, Indian. Male and female, blind and sighted. German, Jewish, French, American, Comanche. Even genres have been examined to undercut the idea of the Pulitzers as awards for only certain kinds of texts: fiction, non-fiction, history, biography, poetry. The result is a prism through which war and peace are refracted in multiple colors, a vivid palette of war, not-war, and peace.
One of our major challenges when reading the literature of war—whether non-fiction, fiction, or poetry—is that literature by its very nature beautifies what is essentially a brutal and tragic endeavor. However horrific the scenes from the Indian Wars, WWII, or Việtnam, Pulitzer-quality writing redeems those horrors and makes of them something else. It’s both the gift and the curse of literature. And yet, how else can we learn of what others suffered under the bloodtide of combat, and from its after-effects?
“War, Not War, and Peace” was developed for Oklahoma Humanities by Dr. Britton Gildersleeve.
~ SCHEDULE ~
All sessions take place on Tuesday evenings in Walker Center, Room 151, beginning at 7:00 PM
Jan. 23 The Things They Carried (1990), by Tim O’Brien
Presenting Scholar: Harbour Winn
Feb. 6 Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (2010), by S. C. Gwynne
Presenting Scholar: Russ Tallchief
Feb. 20 MAUS (1986), by Art Spiegelman
Presenting Scholar: Steve Gooch
March 6 All the Light We Cannot See (2014), by Anthony Doerr
Presenting Scholar: Karen Schiler
March 20 Neon Vernacular (poems, 1993), by Yusef Komunyakaa
Presenting Scholar: Tracy Floreani
NOTE: Yusef Komunyakaa will visit our campus Wednesday, April 4!