Retired psychiatrist at the Department of Veteran Affairs Dr. Jonathan Shay was the guest speaker at the 2016 Emerson-Thomas-Crone Lecture in Humanities on Tuesday, April 12.
Shay’s vast experience’s working with Vietnam and other combat veterans has led him to author two books and to his current research project in which he seeks to understand the role of theater in the democratic polity of classical Athens, where every citizen was ipso facto a soldier or sailor.
His lecture at SAU, “The Communalization of Trauma through the Arts: Greek Theater,” explores this theme. The lecture is free and open to the public.
For 20 years, Shay served as a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston, where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. His experiences with Vietnam veterans led him to write Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002). The latter has a foreword authored jointly by U.S. Senators John McCain and Max Cleland.
Shay has also held positions within U.S. military institutions, such as Visiting Scholar-at-Large at the U.S. Naval War College (2001), performed the Commandant of the Marine Corps Trust Study (1999-2000), served as Chair of Ethics, Leadership, and Personnel Policy in the Office of the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (2004-2005), and spring semester 2009 was the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College jointly with Dickinson College. He has been a MacArthur Fellow since January 2008. Shay has delivered a number of high profile named lectures at American universities as well as American and foreign military institutions. He retired from clinical work in May 2008 to devote himself full time to preventive psychiatry in military organizations.
The Emerson-Thomas-Crone Lectureship in the Humanities was established by an initial gift from Sarai T. Crone. Her son, John T. Crone, III, of San Antonio, completed the funding of her commitment as executor of her estate. The lectureship in the College of Liberal and Performing Arts at SAU provides for an annual presentation by an outstanding figure in history, literature, psychology, sociology, or political science.
For more information on the Emerson-Thomas-Crone Lecture or on how to begin an endowment to fund a lectureship series, contact the SAU Foundation Office at (870) 235-4078.