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Kirkwood lecture series brings focus to military tradition

By Talee Mabe
On November 7, 2012


The Military History lecture series at Kirkwood Community College is open to students, faculty, staff and the community. Members of the Social Science faculty at Kirkwood, as well as a local scholar, will discuss the influence and impact of military and conflict on history.

As with the previous two lecture series, this year's series will roughly correspond with national holidays of remembrance, with the first lecture scheduled just after Veteran's Day on Nov. 15. The last lecture will be held on Dec. 6 just prior to the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Laura Yost, a professor at Kirkwood, has engineered the series since its beginning in 2010. Yost remarked on how pivotal the progression of the military can be in shaping a country's future.

Herself a recipient of a Ph.D in American Military History, Yost and other lecturers hope to draw campus interest with presentations varied in historical size and scope.

"We get a large sampling of interests," said Yost of past attendees. Many attendees have been history  students, with in-class promotion in history courses drawing more students. However, Yost said she has been pleased with representations from other disciplines, as well as from faculty and staff. 

Faculty are invited to speak. They are given license to choose their own subject matter. This has allowed for a fair representation of issues, according to Yost, with some faculty members devoting time to "things not discussed in class." However, the topics being presented this year have a common thread among them, with a focus on imperialism, repression and the militarization of civilian groups.

The lectures will topically hop continents and decades in history. The topics presented are not necessarily "tailored to [a student's] history class," said Yost. However, she said that lecture attendance offers opportunities to expound on classroom learning.

Yost said that, while it is difficult to extract broadstroke "don't do that again" lessons from these lectures, there are "some bigger picture things that we can learn" from studying history.

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