University of Massachusetts Amherst: Seth Kershner Co-authors New Book, ‘Breaking the War Habit- The Debate over Militarism in American Education’

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Seth Kershner, Ph.D. student in history at UMass Amherst, is one of the authors of “Breaking the War Habit: The Debate over Militarism in American Education,” recently published by the University of Georgia Press.

“Breaking the War Habit,” co-authored by Scott Harding and Charles Howett, explores the prolonged battle to prevent the military from infiltrating and influencing public education in the U.S. According to the publisher, the book “provides an original consideration of the militarization of schools in the United States and explores the prolonged battle to prevent the military from infiltrating and influencing public education. Focused on the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) in high schools and the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in higher education, the authors expose the pervasive influence and economic leverage bestowed on the military as it recruits children and youth.”

“Breaking the War Habit” focuses on “those who have resisted the privileged status of the military and successfully challenged its position on campuses across the country. A ‘scrappy band of activists,’ the Committee on Militarism in Education (CME) initiated this work following World War I, publicizing the rise of school militarism and its implications. For two decades, CME’s activism shaped public debate over the meaning of militarism in U.S. society and education settings, resulting in numerous victories against ROTC and JROTC programs. The authors also explore how, since the mid-1970s, military ‘counter-recruiters’ have contested military recruiters’ largely unchecked access to high school students, raising awareness of a ‘school-to-military pipeline’ that concentrates recruitment in urban (predominantly Black and low-income) regions.”

Kershner is studying Vietnam-era US social movements. Also with Scott Harding, he is the co-author of “Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools.” “Breaking the War Habit” co-authors, Scott Harding and Charles Howlett, are associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut and professor emeritus of education at Molloy College, respectively.

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