I had an excellent time in Kjersten Nelson’s Political Science class today speaking about the philosophical whys and technical hows of historical and archival research. After I finished, I asked students where they were in their archival research.
It was excellent to hear from one student who is taking on the hard topic of how returned soldiers deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I was glad to recommend that they 1) chat with NDSU Philosopher Dennis R. Cooley about this, since it concerned how soldiers deal with suicide, and since Dennis has thought long and hard about this topic; and 2) that they look into David Silkenat’s Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina for the historical backdrop of how American soldiers have dealt with these exceedingly difficult memories. The human costs that result from war are infinite, and it was great to hear how an NDSU undergrad (and soldier) is considering ways to push knowledge in new directions. She seriously wants to help. I’m looking forward to checking back in on that research.