War Comes Home

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What do we owe to those whom our country has sent into harm’s way? How can we build bridges of understanding between those who have served and those who have not?

Please note that this page is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

In 2014 Cal Humanities is embarking on a multi-year initiative focused on the experience of veterans returning from war. War Comes Home will create opportunities for communities across California to grapple with critical questions in the aftermath of over a dozen years of war.

War Comes Home will include hundreds of activities throughout California. These events will bring communities together with veterans and their families, writers, and historians to explore how California is welcoming its veterans home. Here are the main components of the initiative:


California Reads

Californians will read What it is Like to Go to War, by Vietnam Marine Lieutenant and Rhodes Scholar, Karl Marlantes, who will do a statewide speaking tour in fall of 2014. With the support of California Reads grants, 43 different library systems and hundreds of branches will present more than 800 public programs for veterans and communities throughout California. (A partnership with the California Center for the Book)

Discussion Guide: What It Is Like to Go to War

Curriculum Guide: What It Is Like to Go to War 

Partner Resources (logos, images, etc.)

See the list of libraries participating in this statewide read!


Public Conversations

Cal Humanities is creating five public forums focusing on themes, from the traumas of war to Hollywood and mythmaking to the changing faces of veterans. Conversations will take place in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Riverside, and Los Angeles in summer 2014. (A partnership with the University of California Humanities Research Institute and the California State Library)


Community Stories

This Cal Humanities program has been supporting community-based projects across California related to veterans, ranging from oral histories of the first African American Marines to an online exhibit of veterans’ tattoos.

Find out more about these projects


In Schools

Cal Humanities is sponsoring a year-long teacher professional development program on how students can learn about U.S. history and government through the eyes of veterans. (A partnership with the California History-Social Science Project)


Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Healthcare

Can reading a poem by Thomas Hardy help a nurse understand better the journey that brought a soldier to her hospital? The Literature & Medicine program’s answer is “yes.” This program helps VA healthcare workers build more understanding and empathy for their patients and provide more compassionate care. We are partnering with major VA medical centers in California.

See how literature can make a difference to hospitals


War Comes Home: The Legacy

War Comes Homes: The Legacy is a banner exhibit that will bring to light veterans’ perspectives throughout history through their letters and journals. Available in fall 2014, the exhibit will be easy to install and travel, and available for libraries, colleges, small museums, cultural centers, and more. (A partnership with Exhibit Envoy)


FAQ and More Information

War Comes Home FAQ

For Press

For more information and specific details on the projects above, please contact Cal Humanities Director of Programs Vanessa Whang at vwhang@calhum.org or (415) 391-1474 x305.

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