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Author: The Conversation

The Invisible War: Much still unknown after a century of studying combat trauma

By MaryCatherine McDonald, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Old Dominion University; Marisa Brandt, Assistant Professor of Practice, Michigan State University; and Robyn Bluhm, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University In the wake of World War I, some veterans returned wounded, but not with obvious physical injuries. Instead, their symptoms were similar to those that had previously been associated with hysterical women – most commonly amnesia, or some kind of paralysis or inability to communicate with no clear physical cause. English physician Charles Myers, who wrote the first paper on “shell-shock” in 1915, theorized that these symptoms...

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African-American soldiers fought for democracy overseas and freedom at home

By Maria Höhn, Professor and Chair of History, Vassar College Until the 21st century, the contributions of African-American soldiers in World War II barely registered in America’s collective memory of that war. The “tan soldiers,” as the black press affectionately called them, were also for the most part left out of the triumphant narrative of America’s “Greatest Generation.” In order to tell their story of helping defeat Nazi Germany in my 2010 book, A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany, I had to conduct research in more than 40 different archives in the...

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God and Education: How Mister Rogers used his faith to shape Children’s Television

By Timothy D. Lytton, Distinguished University Professor & Professor of Law, Georgia State University The beloved children’s television icon Fred Rogers, who is played by actor Tom Hanks in the film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” entered the world of children’s programming during an era of massive political and cultural upheaval. When Fred Rogers wrote a script that included an electric wheelchair, he had Jeff Erlanger in mind. His producer and director tried to convince him that instead of bringing in Jeff’s family all the way from Madison, Wisconsin, they would be able to find someone locally. But...

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Widespread trauma affects mental and physical health of children into adulthood and across generations

By Shanta R. Dube, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Georgia State University For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view. Adult survivors often feel ashamed about and stigmatized for their childhood adversity. This makes it difficult to recognize that these events occur. While it is easier to turn away than to face these issues, we can no longer afford to do so. Stress, mental illness and substance abuse – all health outcomes linked to childhood trauma – occur in the U.S....

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“Why would they lie to me about Santa?” How youth discriminate between what is real and what is not

By Rohan Kapitany, Lecturer in Psychology, Keele University Warning: this article contains Christmas spoilers. Many of us tell our children about a rotund, bearded man in red, who lives in the icy tundra at the top of the world. He is tasked with judging the moral worth of children everywhere. He has a list. He has checked it twice. And there is no court of appeals. We promise our children that, on a known date and under the cover of darkness, he will sneak into our homes. Here, his judgment will be delivered. In preparation, it is customary to...

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How local libraries ended up on the front lines of the urban homelessness crisis

By Richard Gunderman, Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, IUPUI; and David C. Stevens, Resident, Radiology, IUPUI Libraries are increasingly a sanctuary for people who are homeless or mentally ill, putting them on the front lines of providing social services that the institution was never intended for. On any given night, over half a million people in the United States found themselves without a home. While the majority of these people (69%) secured shelter for the night, many shelters do not provide daytime accommodations for their patrons. This leaves many in search of daytime activity and protection...

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