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2014 Winter Linfield Magazine

1 0 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Winter 2014 relations scholar from Boston University, visits campus in March, Schwab and others will have already read his book in class and participated in interdisciplinary discussions. “I will be able to talk with him face to face, perhaps about aspects of my research,” she said. “This opportunity is amazing. It takes it all to the next level.” PLACE has also been integrated into the common read for first-year students. Last fall, students read Thieves of Baghdad by Matthew Bogdanos before arriving on campus and were then greeted by Bogdanos who spoke at opening convocation. This fall’s common read, Ignorance: How It Drives Science by Stuart Firestein, reflects the 2014-15 PLACE theme, “How Do We Know?” Over the course of the year, Jenny Layton ’14, a theatre major and peer advisor, has discussed the impact of war on the environment in her ecology class, attended a photography exhibit focusing on veterans and listened to Hiroshima survivors. But the concepts of war took a more personal toll as she prepared for her role as Rebo in the Linfield production of Ajax in Iraq, a play inspired by interviews with Iraq war veterans and their families. Layton experienced intense and violent dreams as she confronted complex issues while in character. “The playwright interviewed veterans for this show, so these were real people’s stories,” Layton said. “That hit me pretty hard. For me, war is sort of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ I don’t have to worry about stepping on an IED while I’m walking to class. So these sorts of discussions are valuable and give us all a common landing ground.” The PLACE programming has affected more than just Linfield students. Community members engage as well. Phil Newman, a McMinnville resident and retired surgeon, was personally opposed to the war in Vietnam. However, in 1970 at the age of 32, he found himself a major in the Army Medical Corps, triaging and treating casualties at a helipad staging area in Quang Tri Province in his role as chief of professional services at the 18th Surgical Hospital. Many of the wounds he treated were blast injuries from high explosive fragmentation devices. Newman shared his experiences with a packed auditorium during a panel discussion, which featured a number of individuals from the Linfield and local communities who had been affected by war – veterans, protestors, family members and citizens. “Most cases began with amputations,” said Newman. “If every person in our country could rotate for a week’s time through a busy military surgical hospital, I think we would, as a nation, soon be unwilling to include war as an option for conflict resolution.” Newman described what it was like to return from the war. “I was not the same person who left in 1970,” he said. “I couldn’t find a way to adequately communicate the depth of my outrage nor the degree to which I had changed, so I soon quit trying. This, of course, increased my sense of isolation from my family and friends.” Firsthand accounts such as this have given Schwab and her peers a new perspective on a war she’s only read about in textbooks. “It’s easy to demonize the Vietnam War,” she said. “But when you’re talking to the people who were put in these situations, it’s hard to look at the war the same way. For something that seems so far back in history for our generation, we were able to gain a greater understanding.” Citizenship, central to the liberal arts mission, is also a cornerstone of the PLACE program as students and community members are prompted to consider their responsibilities locally, “ The playwright interviewed veterans for this show, so these were real people’s stories. That hit me pretty hard. For me, war is sort of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ I don’t have to worry about stepping on an IED while I’m walking to class.” – Jenny Layton ’14 Linfield College theatre students including Jenny Layton ’14, foreground, explored the timeless struggle of soldiers and war during Ajax in Iraq, inspired by interviews with Iraq war veterans and their families. The play followed the parallel narratives of Ajax, an ancient Greek military hero, and A.J., a modern female soldier.


2014 Winter Linfield Magazine
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