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Jason Higgins

Ph.D. Candidate

Jason A. Higgins is a Ph.D. candidate in American History, studying the social history of modern war and specializing on the American War in Vietnam. He has completed a public history certificate with a concentration in oral history. Having conducted nearly one hundred oral histories with veterans, his research focuses on the relationship between war trauma and the difficulties of veteran reintegration. He published an article from his master's thesis in War, Literature, and the Arts (2018), “Through Star-Spangled Eyes: Lew Puller’s Fortunate Son and the Problem of Resolution,” which examines trauma narratives and veteran suicide. Jason is also the co-editor (with John M. Kinder) of Marginalized Veterans in American History, a forthcoming edited collection under contract with UMass Press. 

Since 2017, Jason has directed the Incarcerated Veterans Oral History Project which examines the relationship between military-related trauma and incarceration. Follow his YouTube channel to view selected excerpts and full-length oral history interviews. His dissertation traces the rise of mass incarceration to the policies of the Vietnam War and historicizes the experiences of incarcerated veterans from the war in Vietnam to the Global War on Terror. As an affiliate of the UMass Oral History Lab, Jason has facilitated several one-day oral history training workshops. Jason has been involved with several oral history projects beyond his research focus, including the Emily Dickinson Museum; the Strawberry Hill Project, a Croatian immigrant community in Kansas City; and he has also interviewed survivors of the Holocaust and the Pearl Harbor attack. He also recently developed open-access training tools designed to teach oral history at every stage of the process.

Higgins earned a Master’s in English from Oklahoma State University in 2016 and received training in oral history at the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, double majoring in English and History.