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Hutton Honors College

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The Moral Wounds of War
An Informal Undergraduate Supper with Nancy Sherman
Distinguished University Professor, Georgetown University

November 10, 2011

How does war change soldiers, those who survive and those who have done what we have asked them to do to the very best of their abilities? Nancy Sherman has found that moral anguish and guilt often follow them home: These are "feelings good soldiers bear, in part as testament to their moral humanity." Asked by their country to fight for our freedom, soldiers not only risk life and limb but also face profound moral dilemmas and a sense of guilt takes many forms. When they return to civilian life on the homefront, what impact do the memories they have of what they have seen and the choices they have made mean for the rest of their lives?


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In 1997, Nancy Sherman, author of The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds and Souls of our Soldiers, became the first Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the US Naval Academy, designing the brigade-wide required military ethics course. She has taught at Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland and has trained in psychoanalysis at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. Since 1995, she has consulted for the U.S. Armed Forces on issues of ethics, resilience, and posttraumatic stress. In October 2005, Dr. Sherman visited Guantanamo Bay Detention Center as part of an independent observer team, assessing the medical and mental health care of detainees. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

Besides The Untold War, her books include Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind and she has written more than 60 articles in the areas of ethics, military ethics, the history of moral philosophy, ancient ethics, the emotions, moral psychology, and psychoanalysis. Dr. Sherman is a frequent contributor in the media, appearing, among other places, on PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, WABC, and This American Life. Her articles, opinion pieces, and reviews of her work have appeared in The New York Times, The LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, Huffington Post, The Chronicle Review, The San Diego Tribune, The Denver Post, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun and other newspapers. She also writes for military.com. This photo shows Nancy Sherman with the students who attended the event.


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