Citizen-Soldiers and a Grateful Nation: Veterans and the Postwar Politics of Obligation and Care

Veteran's Day Lecture

Date and time

November 11, 2013, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

About this event

What do we owe those who serve our nation? The debate about veterans, their role in society, and the compensation and benefits owed to soldiers and veterans have been part of the national dialogue since the American Revolution. In the twentieth century, however, the benefits accorded veterans, and the quality of service to those who serve, have played a growing role in our political culture.

The Soldiers' Bonus after World War I, the GI Bill after World War II, and subsequent programs to address the needs of those who return home have sparked political conflict and also contributed to an expanding federal government, but not always in ways that were thought efficient or effective. This lecture will explore both the historical context of veterans' benefits and consider the current state of veterans affairs in the context of America's longest war.


Undergraduate Library
Community Room, 3rd floor
Wayne State University
5155 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202


Professor Elizabeth Faue

Elizabeth Faue is an internationally known scholar of gender and working-class history and a professor of history at Wayne State University since the fall of 1990. In the past twenty-five years, she has become known for her work in exploring the gendered cultural dimensions of labor, politics, and working-class experience and as an advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship, critical engagement, and graduate education. Dr. Faue served as an interim associate dean of the Graduate School from 2007 to 2009, as a frequent member of the Graduate Council and, recently, of the Humanities Center Advisory Board.  Since 2010, she has been Director of Graduate Studies in History. In recognition of her graduate work, she won the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award in 2000 and has been re-nominated for that award twice in recent years.

Elizabeth Faue has authored two books—Community of Suffering and Struggle, on gender in the labor movement of the 1930s, and Writing the Wrongs, a biography of labor journalist and organizer, Eva McDonald Valesh. Her current projects focus on a range of issues from the role of veterans to the transformation of the workplace and of workplace politics since World War II, workplace risk and endangerment, and interpretive history of the labor movement in the United States in the twentieth century.

A hallmark of her scholarship, which has included hundreds of articles, essays, reviews, encyclopedia entries, and presentations, has been Faue’s determination to cross scholarly boundaries, raise new questions, and de-familiarize topics with which we have been comfortable. She began as a lyric poet, wrote her undergraduate honors thesis on Emily Dickinson, and started her graduate training with the purpose of studying interwar modern Greek poetry and politics. While she has not yet returned to that subject, she brings some of this lyric sensibility to her scholarship.

In her role as coordinator for the North American Labor History Conference between 1991 and 2003, Dr. Faue brought over 2000 scholars to the annual conference held at Wayne State. As a program chair and officer of the Social Science History Association, she expanded the labor network and made crucial links among scholars of different disciplines. She was one of the founding members of, and active in, both the Labor and Working Class History Association and the Working Class Studies Association. In 2004, Faue received the first LAWCHA award for service to labor and working-class history. As a feminist historian, she has participated in interdisciplinary efforts to expand the meanings of history; and she has been an active participant in developing the field of gender and women’s history.