What can indigenous cultures teach us about PTSD?
Who would you give your last scrap of food to?
What do human beings need to be content?
These are just a few of the diverse questions that Sebastian Junger will tackle in his talk, titled "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging," also the title of his most recent book. The book takes readers on an investigation of the experiences of veterans and proposes that a major cause of pain is not being at war, but coming home. We all have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding-- "tribes." In Tribe, Junger demonstrates how this tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society. Furthermore, he examines PTSD as a side effect of soldiers leaving the close bonds they’ve formed in their military platoons and returning to a disconnected modern society, and argues that regaining a sense of closeness may be the key to our psychological survival.
Sebastian Junger is the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of WAR, The Perfect Storm, A Death in Belmont and Fire. He is also the acclaimed director of the documentaries Restrepo and Korengal. As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and as a contributor to ABC News, he has covered major international news stories and has been awarded the National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for Journalism.
Junger’s critically acclaimed documentary Restrepo, co-directed with photojournalist Tim Hetherington, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and received the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Restrepo documents the war in Afghanistan by reporting from soldiers’ perspectives. Its massive success inspired Junger to produce Korengal, which highlights the psychological effects soldiers must overcome during deployment and the emotions they are afflicted with when returning home.
In spring 2017, National Geographic aired Junger’s latest documentary feature, titled Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Culled from nearly 1,000 hours of stunningly visceral footage, the film explores some of the horrific conditions that refugees commonly flee from, and shows their humanity and courage in the face of physical threats as well as a largely hostile political environment. Junger captures the Syrian war’s harrowing carnage and sociopolitical consequences while painting an alarming picture of the West’s role in the creation of ISIS.