Mershon-Supported Conference to Explore 'Costs of War'

October 24, 2015

Mershon-Supported Conference to Explore 'Costs of War'

Kevin McClatchy

The Responsibility, Morality, and the Costs of War symposium, organized by Kevin McClatchy and Janet Parrott in the Department of Theatre with support from the Mershon Center, blends performing and visual arts with leading research to explore the costs of war.

This symposium, to be held November 12-14, 2015, at Drake Performance and Event Center, The Ohio State University, is a three-day interdisciplinary event that speaks to key issues facing our nation today: the challenges that confront veterans from the numerous, ongoing sites of combat and conflict around the globe.

The symposium will feature panel discussions by a range of scholars, artists, and veterans, keynote lectures, an art installation, an exhibition, a film screening, a short film exhibition, a solo performance, and a staged reading of a new play.  Highlights include:

  • Jonathan Shay, author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, will deliver the symposium's keynote address.
  • Czech designer Simona Rybáková leads the creation of a performance/installation and will deliver the Ohio State Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute lecture.
  • Emmy and Independent Spirit award-winning filmmaker Heather Courtney will screen her film Where Soldiers Come From.
  • Kevin McClatchy will perform his new solo play, Scrap Heap, about a Special Forces veteran with PTSD.

Other notable participants include Mershon affiliate and decorated veteran Peter Mansoor, Ohio State endowned chair of History Bruno Cabanes, combat veteran and founder of American Women Veterans Genevieve Chase, and award-winning playwright and actor Bianca Sams.

The goal of the symposium is to employ the interactive, visceral nature of the performing and visual arts in conjunction with leading scholarly enterprise as well as community outreach efforts to provoke new dialogue, explore creative works, share resources, advance scholarship and promote a lasting, active engagement with the realities of the costs of war.

As the United States emerges from nearly 14 years of sustained military combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Responsibility, Morality and the Costs of War: PTSD, Moral Injury and Beyond will expand and deepen the examination into the myriad costs of war.  We hope to galvanize the Ohio State student population and the Central Ohio community as a gateway to impacting the national/international conversation concerning war and its costs.

Find a full conference schedule at