MHS Colloquium with Dr. Kenneth MacLeish
Churn: Work and Ex- Military Life
Tuesday, December 3rd, 8:30-9:30am, MHS Suite – 300 Calhoun Hall
Please join us for a MHS colloquium with our associate professor, Dr. Kenneth MacLeish, PhD.
Drawing from a new book project on emergent practices and dilemmas of veteran care, this talk explores the fungibility of military lives—the ease with which they are taken up and discarded by institutions—as both a primary source of embodied war-related harm and an under-explored aspect of the US war-making apparatus. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among post-9/11 military veterans in a US military community, the talk explores the mobilization and demobilization of US military labor. Mobilization-demobilization drives the uptake and release of military labor and accounts for continuities between war violence and “war-like” domestic inequalities and forms of structural violence (Howell, 2018) in twentieth and twenty-first century US military recruiting, welfare, and personnel practices. The trajectory of one veteran caught up in some elements of mobilization-demobilization, including injury, post-traumatic stress, substance use, and law-breaking, shows how these embodied and psychic conditions are structured by the military’s management of his labor. These dynamics demonstrate crucial empirical links between the domestic and global faces of US war-making and between war and nominally non-war domains.
The talk is based in part on a forthcoming article in the journal Security Dialogue, available here: