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Our Work

With a mission of public service education and a research focus on understanding the human experience of war and peace, in international conflict and diplomatic cooperation, the Center has amassed collections of documents and interviews, chronicling the American veteran’s experience, and shedding light on the social, cultural, and political impact of conflict.

Our Goals

Our vision is to be the core of an active intellectual community based on research and
study in this field, across the disciplines of the humanities.

  • Present our research and collections in innovative formats online.
  • Establish graduate fellowships and postdoctoral positions.
  • Continue collecting oral history interviews and original documents.
  • Create a series of summer seminars for secondary educators and university professors.
  • Sponsor (or co-sponsor) conference and expand existing lecture series.

Preserving the Veteran Voice

The Center has always actively encouraged veterans and their families to donate their personal papers (letters, diaries, etc.) to the Center’s archival collection. It also has an ongoing oral history program to interview veterans and witnesses of war and conflict. In addition, the Center encourages veterans to write their memoirs or to simply jot down as many remembrances as possible.

Dr. Charles Johnson founded the Center for the Study of War and Society in 1988, following on the heels of his work with the UT Veterans History Project. Dr. Johnson also co-authored the book City Behind a Fence: A History of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (1981) and in 1985 the UT National Alumni Association honored him with their Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. He retired from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1998.


Research and Scholarship

Scholars such as Rick Atkinson, Edward M. Coffman, and John C McManus from around the world have drawn upon the CSWS archival research collection housed in the Hoskins Special Collections Library. CSWS encourages veterans to write their memoirs and to preserve personal papers such as letters and diaries.

In addition, our Oral History Project creates transcripts from interviews with veterans of WWII and beyond and makes them available online.

The Center’s archival research collection is housed in Hoskins Library and maintained by the Special Collections Department of the University of Tennessee Libraries. Scholars and students from around the world have drawn upon the Center’s holdings for dissertations and books. A preliminary finding aid for the Center’s manuscript collection can be found on the Center’s website. The Center also posts the completed oral history transcripts online as each one is completed and reviewed by the veteran.

A Resource for Students

The Center Director, Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, is an associate professor in the Department of History and specializes in the study of modern European and international history. He regularly offers undergraduate and graduate courses on topics of war, diplomatic history, and international history. Undergraduates also have the opportunity to work with Center staff as interns either during the semester or summer. Professor Liulevicius also serves as graduate advisor to several graduate students working in the area of war and society. Other faculty in the history department also work in fields that relate to the study of war and society.

Supporting Undergraduate and Graduate Education

As part of its commitment to education, the CSWS is involved in teaching at many levels. At the undergraduate level, an intensive and competitive internship program allows students to participate in public history. Our current on-line archive project, “Friend and Foe: Images of Enemies and Allies”, combines original historical sources with commentary to reach a broader student audience. In the future, the Center also will launch innovative courses on war and human experience, at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Through the generosity of individuals and organizations, the Center administers several fellowships for University of Tennessee graduate students in history who are studying topics related to the Center’s mission. These include the William Benjamin Anderson Memorial Fellowship and the Jerry and Edgar Wilson Fellowship. Annually, the holder of the Wilson Fellowship gives a public lecture based on his or her dissertation research. More information about the Wilson Fellowship can be found HERE.

Public Outreach

In addition to sponsoring three annual public lectures each year, the CSWS has a long record of hosting successful community events and academic conferences, including the annual meeting of the Society for Military History. We are an important resource for authors, students, teachers, and the public, most recently assisting in the completion of the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial.

To Learn More about the Center

If you would like to learn more about the Center or upcoming programs sponsored by the Center, we would be happy to add you to our mailing list. You can fill out the form HERE or write, e-mail, or telephone:

Center for the Study of War and Society
220 Hoskins Library
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4008
Phone: (865) 974-0128

The Center for the Study of War and Society receives only limited support from the University of Tennessee. To fulfill its missions it is heavily dependent on the generosity of private individuals and organizations to support the research, teaching, and public outreach programs. If you are considering a financial donation to the Center, please contact Center for the Study of War and Society at (865) 974-0128 or by Email at