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...That the Children May Learn      

A Colloquium on Children and War                                          

 

Recital Studio, MRH 2.608 11:00 AM April 29, 2012                          

             

Presented by: Dr. Justin T. Capps  

 


...That the Children May Learn About the Project ...That the Children May Learn, by Justin T. Capps, is a 28-minute musical parable about the process by which children are indoctrinated into cultures of war through play, media representations, parental influence, and state-backed propaganda. It is the composer’s personal response to Igor Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. Material is often drawn from or related to external sources, particularly national anthems and the so-called “Ur-Song,” familiar to individuals of many nations (sol-sol-mi-la-sol-mi). Texts are original or comprise fragments from letters and diaries of soldiers and their families during wartime separation. Today’s event has been organized to facilitate an exchange that will foster thought and discussion regarding some of complex issues that the work seeks to engage. Of necessity, there are many other matters that will be omitted in today’s forum, but this should not be interpreted as a prioritization of these topics over others. The long-term goal of the project is that over time it might be presented in different venues, drawing on the knowledge and interests of scholars in diverse fields who will each be able to offer one particular view into the subject. An event such as this would be impossible without the generosity of the speakers and performers. Today’s presenters have chosen their topics independently and are free to adopt any perspective they wish. The lone request that might be made of the audience is that attentiveness, respectfulness, and open-mindedness prevail. This is not a political forum, and the principal aim is not to persuade one to any particular conclusions, but rather to share a variety of ideas and to enrich the experience of the subsequent performance of ...That the Children May Learn. Thank you for coming, and we hope you take something new, meaningful, or personally valuable from the hall when you go.


Speak The format of these talks is as follows:

Each speaker will make a 10-15 minute presentation. There will be a 5-10 minute period available for Q & A. The combined length of time allotted to each speaker is 20 minutes.

R. J OSEPH P ARROTT Master of Public Policy, University of Virginia PhD Student in History: 20th Century World Politics; Cold War Africa

Trained to hate: Child soldiers and youth violence in the Angolan Civil War

D R . C ATHARINE H. E CHOLS Associate Professor of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin

Developing a concept of “enemy”

J ERMAINE T HIBODEAUX Artium Baccalaureus, Cornell University PhD Student in Southern History

What these youthful eyes have seen: Children’s recollections of the Civil War

D R . R OBERT J ENSEN Professor of Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin

Heard of a TV that is loaded with weapons: Life during wartime propaganda


Meet R. Joseph Parrott is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies the intersections of decolonization and the Cold War. His interests include American foreign policy, twentieth-century Africa, the global civil rights movement, and transnational support for Lusophone liberation movements. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Virginia. Dr. Catharine H. Echols received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign. Her research explores a number of issues related to the acquisition of language. The general focus of her research is with two questions fundamental to language development: (a) how infants identify words and other linguistic units in the speech stream and (b) how they associate words to appropriate real world referents. She is investigating the first question by assessing whether infants can use prosodic cues-such as stress, intonation or rhythm to identify words in speech. In relation to the second question, she is investigating whether infants can use linguistic context to determine the meanings of novel words. Additional projects pertain to the acquisition of grammar and children's understanding of various functions of language (e.g., irony and sarcasm). This research is funded through a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Echols is in the Developmental and Cognition & Perception areas in Psychology, and is head of the Developmental area. Jermaine Thibodeaux is currently a second-year graduate student in the Department of History, working under the direction of Professor Daina Ramey Berry. A native of Houston, Texas, Jermaine attended Cornell University (2004). After earning an A.B. in history, with a certificate in the law and society program, Jermaine returned to Texas to teach middle school history and English. In the coming years, Jermaine hopes to complete a dissertation that focuses on slave drivers and overseers in the American South. Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film “Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing,� which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Information about the film, distributed by the Media Education Foundation, and an extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff are online at http://thirdcoastactivist.org/osheroff.html. Jensen can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu and his articles can be found online at http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html.


Learn Justin T. Capps (2012)

...That the Children May Learn I. II. III. IV.

Childhood Pen Songs The Emperor’s Old Clothes Postlude

Dorea Cook, Narrator Dr. Dana Zenobi, Soprano Brian Pettey, Baritone Kenzie Slottow, Flute/Piccolo Dr. Sarunas Jankauskas, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet Leah Tott, Bassoon Michael Arnold, Trumpet Dr. Joe Brown, Trombone Tim Feerst, Percussion Kate Bivona, Violin Dr. Elizabeth Lee, Violoncello Pierce Gradone, Contrabass Dr. Hermes Camacho, Conductor …That the Children May Learn is a musical parable about the cyclical and seemingly universal process by which children are indoctrinated into warring cultures and desensitized to violence, in part through play. The piece is therefore indirectly about war, but seeks merely to function as a sort of metanarrative The characters portrayed by the singers will change according to the placement within the piece. In the first section of the first movement (In(tro)duction), the singers are children faced with the familiar quandary of being bored and crippled with indecision about how to resolve their discontent. The soprano may be regarded as the younger, or less empowered of the two, and the baritone as the one with the ability to dictate terms of play. In the third section of the first movement (Mother’s Call), the soprano is a mother calling her children home for dinner and safety as night falls. In the second movement (Pen Songs), the singers are given as text fragments of letters or diaries from deployed soldiers and their families. In the final section of the movement (Letter to My Beloved Child), the baritone sings a letter from a tokkotai (kamikaze) pilot to his very young daughter in anticipation of his imminent death. It is alternately a lamentation, an encouragement, and an expression of love and comfort. The first section of the third movement (Parade of Nations) presents various national anthems to suggest the influence of the state; the second (A Symmetric Warfare) offers the distilled voices of factions speaking on the state of a war; the third (Mother’s Call) features the soprano as a Gaea-esque figure rousing slain soldiers from their mortality and calling them home to the light. In the final movement (Postlude), the singers again present fragments of text, but in this case they are strikingly reflective of a backward-looking view of one’s life, and occupy a nexus between life and death, mixing wistful sorrow with joy. It is in this movement that the narrator comes closest to presenting a structured rhetorical appeal for the sake of the children, rather than explicitly for or against war.


Play I.

Childhood

WARRRRRR!!! War! ‘Twas springtime on the battlefields of Ah,  how  I  love  the  smell  of  sunshine  in  the  morning! greatest inconsequence, somewhere west of you, north of me, and east of parental view.     The effervescent birds singing; the vivid blue sky all around; the dewed grass underfoot, and the joyful rush of children unbound by time.   The scenery is m uch brighter for the daisy pullers, guaranteed resurrection. Each death will be subject to parliamentary debate, and with hours to fill, the Styx is but a

rivulet.

The children know there is evil out there, for their parents have told them so, and on a fearless day such as this, there is no adversary that shall remain undiscovered or unvanquished. Thereisapointineachyouthfulskirmishatwhichitisaplainfactthatnoneofthefighters–whatever their sworn allegiance, rank,orarmaments–ishavingfunanylonger.Theneighborhoodaxenoscapelitteredwiththeremnantsofawarlongforgotten.

Friends become foes, and play ceases. Seek and destroy. Lie in wait. Adrenaline is one’s master. The heart beats faster, louder. Breathing, shorter,quicker. What was that noise? Cracking branches, shuffling dirt portending doom. Soon. Soon. Wait for it. Wait for it. Any moment now. The time has arrived. Creeping, preparing to spring to merciless slaughter.

Could it be? Is this how it ends? Another noise! Time is short. Life is short. Air…too.

Any.

II.  

   

Second.

NOW!

Pen Songs are many,    

 

 

Love, service, revenge, conscription. God, family, comrades, self. The reasons but the outcomes few.    

 

 

 

Children grow up, and live as they do. But sometimes the living brings darker things, too.


III. The Emperor’s Old Clothes

Love your country, with all your heart! Here comes the Emperor, so now let us start.  

War, you see, is a funny thing. War, you see. You see war.  

   

 

 

 

 

Now, we’ve been here before. Do you recognize it? There’s no telling how we got here, but there are no paths by which to leave. There are no more choices now, nothing like freedom. If only it were imagined. If only. If. Any… second…

IV. Postlude

Justin T. Capps awaits a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Music Composition from The University of Texas at Austin (Concentration in Electronic Music). His unwittingly brilliant fortune has allowed him to study with Dan Welcher, Russell Pinkston, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Daniel Catán, Virko Baley, and Gerald Levinson. Justin would like to express his gratitude to all of the participants in today’s event. He looks forward to discovering what life is like in the professional wilderness, and more than anything to spend time with his wife, Emma, and their luminous daughters, Zoë and Ashby, This is goodbye, but it is a good “bye”. Thank you all for being my friends and colleagues. All artwork by Sarah Hutchinson Burke http://thesecondmagpie.wordpress.com


...That the Children May Learn