Sunday, February 24, 2008

The "War" Interview

The “War” Interview

Your assignment is to find someone *on campus* who has first-hand experience of some aspect of war. Such persons might include: veterans of American wars or of any war or armed conflict that has taken place in their lifetimes; those who have not served but who have actively opposed such conflicts or who have supported such conflicts; victims of or refugees from such conflicts; loved ones of those who have fought in such conflicts; those who stood on the sidelines during such conflicts and are now having second thoughts pro or con….

The list is endless. For instance, ROTC students usually make good interviews, particularly at a school like USF where some faculty would prefer ROTC not be allowed on campus.

For most of the sources this class will choose, the basic question you are asking is how does your experience of war influence your attitude toward the current war in Iraq? What did you learn from that earlier experience? How were you changed by that experience? What action are you prepared to take now because of what happened then?

In some instances, your focus will be more on the future than the past. If you are interviewing an ROTC student, for instance, you might ask why that person decided to enlist and exactly how he or she thinks he or she will respond when faced with combat.

I urge you to get your subjects to recall specific events, not just to talk in vague philosophical terms but to talk about the things they saw, heard and did that affected them emotionally, not just intellectually.

Story length? As long as you think it needs to be.