Cristopher De Phillips and Laurie Ipsen in front of City Hall in Chicago
Cristopher De Phillips (MAPH 2009) arrived at UChicago as a MAPH student in 2008. Even now, he remembers cold and cloudy days in January. “I’d say to myself–‘This thesis is never going to get done.'”
As Founder and Director of Chicago Welcomes Home the Heroes, De Phillips now finds himself in familiar circumstances–looking ahead to the execution of a difficult project whose scope seems to continuously widen–though the task that he’s set in front of himself can seem even more challenging. Along with co-founder Laurie Ipsen, De Phillips is spearheading the effort to plan and execute America’s largest welcome-home parade for veterans of America’s post-9/11 wars (THIS DECEMBER 15IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO). The organization will also host a screening of the documentary film Hell and Back at the Reva and David Logan Center on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 (6PM), with a panel discussion to follow.
MAPH students and alumni are welcome to attend all of the events.
All of this amounts to a huge set of logistical challenges that has demanded collaboration with civic, government, non-profit, and corporate interests (Chicago Welcomes Home the Heroes secured their first major sponsor in United Health Care on the day that I met with De Phillips and Ipsen here in Hyde Park).
De Phillips jokes that he has confidence that the work will get done in part because of his experience writing that MAPH thesis project–a project that likely seems less daunting when observed in the rear-view mirror.
He became interested in the idea of a Chicago parade after seeing Rachel Maddow’s coverage of Saint Louis’s event–which attracted roughly 100,000 people. It may seem like an unlikely calling for a MAPH alum–especially one without any firsthand experience of military life (neither De Phillips nor Ipsen has been in the armed forces). But this logistically complicated and emotional process has become the focus of De Phillips’s professional life during the past year. Continue reading
Eric McMillan’s unit, capturing an arms cache in Iraq (2007)
In response to Nick Fox’s (MAPH 2011) thoughts about military service in the wake of 9/11 Eric McMillan (MAPH 2010) offers a guest reflection on life after combat. Eric was honorably discharged from the US Army having attained the rank of Captain and is working on a book about the life of a soldier. He lives with his wife in Seattle.
Walking from my apartment to campus was like planning a patrol. First, I determined a route I would take. Then I planned an alternate route, a contingency route, an emergency route. I could never get over how many kids I saw walking around listening to iPods instead of paying attention to their surroundings. Every morning, I laid out my packing list and prepared as if I were going outside the wire. As I walked, I watched people’s hands, classified them as “threat/ no threat,” peered around every alleyway before crossing them, watched windows on the second stories of the street. I did this all year in the sun and the rain and snow. It was habit. It was survival. It was what I knew. Continue reading
Mike Wilson (MAPH ’11) was this year’s MAPH intern at WBEZ’s show 848. Last week, he traveled up to Minnesota, where fellow MAPH ’11 grad and former Army Ranger Nick Fox reflected on a military career shaped by the events of September 11, 2001. Nick’s words speak for themselves. Hope you check it out.
Nick is one of many former military officers and enlisted men and women who have come to the program after serving. Many thanks to all of you. We have you in our thoughts.
I interviewed Zeke Reich about his MAPH experience and his current position at the Veterans Administration in Washington, DC. Here’s what he had to say:
What were your goals upon entry into MAPH?
I came into MAPH with the primary intention of connecting with a constellation of people and ideas that can be found in the U of C Philosophy Department and almost nowhere else. There were a group of professors (Conant, Finkelstein, Pippin, Haugeland, Lear…) and interlocutors (Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Cavell, Austin, Putnam, Baz, McDowell, Brandom…) whom I felt I needed to connect with in order to make my basic education as a philosophical person complete. I’m happy to say that that intention was met: I was welcomed into advanced classes and workshops, and spent time with upper-level graduate students who were having all the conversations that I had wanted to be part of. And I still feel that the U of C Wittgenstein/Cavell/Heidegger/pragmatism axis plays an extremely important role in my sensibility and worldview. Continue reading