Sept. 8, 2016
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – Following her appointment to the Cleghorn Fellowship in War and Society at Wilfrid Laurier University, Mary Chaktsiris will expand her research on the impact of the First World War on individual Canadian veterans and society as a whole.
"These are stories about resilience, adaptability and responsibility,” said Chaktsiris. “Despite experiencing the trauma of war, Great War veterans had to meet the expectations of a society that assumed they would be ready and able to get back to work and to raising a family.”
Chaktsiris says research about veterans’ transition back into civilian life can inform current debates about the social and medical services that Canada provides for veterans.
“Thanks to the Cleghorn Fellowship, over the next two years I’ll have a chance to explore some fascinating questions about the relationship between war and Canadian society,” said Chaktsiris. “For example, what was the role of the government in supporting the veterans’ transition from military service? Was the treatment of women who served as nurses, medics and ambulance drivers different from the men who soldiered? How did war trauma affect the veterans’ physical and mental health, familial relationships and employment?”
Chaktsiris is the first scholar to hold the new Cleghorn Fellowship in War and Society, funded by John and Pattie Cleghorn and family, Laurier’s Office of the Provost and Vice President: Academic, Laurier’s dean of Arts and the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS).
John Cleghorn, the former chair and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, served as Laurier’s chancellor from 1996 to 2003. Pattie and John have been generous donors to Laurier and have focused a significant portion of their philanthropy on the research and teaching of the LCMSDS.
“We are proud and honoured to support the military centre at Laurier,” said John. “With these new fellowships, we hope to open up new fields of research about the impact of war on Canadian society.”
The two-year fellowship will support Canada’s most exceptional emerging scholars in war and society. Further appointments are scheduled for 2018, 2020 and 2022. The fellows will also serve as assistant professors in Laurier’s Department of History and the LCMSDS. In addition to their research and teaching duties, these scholars will publish their results and communicate their findings to the public through the LCMSDS website, public lectures and seminars, and community teaching initiatives.
"The goal of the LCMSDS is to become the premier centre for the study of war and society in Canada, a place where scholars produce new knowledge and train future generations of historians to the benefit of all Canadians,” said Mark Humphries, director of the LCMSDS. “The Cleghorn Fellowships are an exciting opportunity for historians conducting cutting-edge research to share their findings with scholarly audiences as well as the wider community."
Chaktsiris, who earned her master’s degree at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and her PhD at Queen’s University, says she’s delighted to be part of the Laurier faculty.
“Laurier has a wonderful focus on research and teaching. It’s an institution that really wants its students to be engaged and to succeed,” said Chaktsiris. “I am very grateful for the research opportunities provided by the Cleghorn Fellowship. I’m looking forward to the work ahead.”
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