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More about the Theme

A Century of Conflict:
Dialogues on the U.S. Experience of War since 1917


2016-2017 Common Experience Theme Chairs

» Dr. Margaret Menninger, Associate Professor, Department of History
» Dr. Ellen D. Tillman, Assistant Professor, Department of History
» Margaret Vaverek, Outreach Librarian, Albert B. Alkek Library


Conflict and war have always been elements of the human experience. In fact, peace has only prevailed globally for about 292 years since 3600 BCE, according to a 1984 study by the Peace Research Institute at the University of Oslo. Staggering numbers of casualties and political shifts have followed the outbreak of the World War I, and the United States has been no exception to these wider trends. Wars have affected the development of U.S. identity, culture, society, and policy since its beginnings, and its involvement in global armed conflicts continues as it approaches the centenary of its WWI entry.

The Common Experience theme, "A Century of Conflict: Dialogues on the U.S. Experience of War since 1917," highlights the importance of the international arena to U.S. ideals and global interaction, and considers the more universal elements of the war experience and their effects. By examining major U.S. wars and involvements since 1917, students will gain an understanding of the wide impact of U.S. foreign relations over the course of a century, and its connection to global communities and economies. Multiple campus and community groups (including military and veteran affiliates) will be brought together to discuss issues relevant to the world in which students are currently living and voting. Individually, students will attain a fuller comprehension of how their own fields of study relate to the international experience, as well as their roles as citizens and university graduates. Further topics include some of the more extreme repercussions of decisions made across the world, and the reciprocal impact of international relations.