Alumni Feature: Tara Tappert, Ph.D.

tappert-taraTara Tappert ‘73 may have graduated from Hope over 40 years ago, but her enthusiasm for learning and teaching hasn’t waned.

I am continually making and re-making the focus and direction of my career—teacher, writer, curator, editor, events planner, and advocate.

After getting her undergraduate degree in History, Dr. Tappert received an M.S.L.S. in Library and Archives Administration from Wayne State University before going on to earn her Ph.D. in American Civilization from George Washington University.

For the past six years, Dr. Tappert’s main research has been on the arts and the military in the U.S. She is particularly interested in how the arts were used for rehabilitation and vocational training during and after the First World War; how arts and crafts continued to play a role in soldier well-being and efficacy during and after the Second World War; and how art making positively impacts military service members and families today.

tappert-arts-and-militaryDr. Tappert has launched a grassroots initiative called The Arts & The Military, a program which offers learning experiences, community-based arts making workshops, and provides access to a collection of contemporary artwork available for exhibitions. The ART-ifacts collection offers “nearly 300 objects made by contemporary veterans, military family members, and civilians interested in issues of war, violence, and trauma.”

At the core of my work is an interest in the cultural role of art making as a way to deal with war trauma and violence.

IMG_1051_2.JPG_croppedIn 2014, Dr. Tappert was the David B. Larson Fellow for Health and Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, where she continued her research on arts and crafts making as a creative response to war trauma. At the end of her fellowship year she presented an illustrated lecture—Art from War: Documenting Devastation/Realizing Restoration.

During the summer of 2014 Dr. Tappert participated in an National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute, World War I and the Arts: Sound, Vision, Psyche, at the University of Cincinnati.  And this summer, she will be participating in another NEH Summer Institute on Veterans in Society, at Virginia Tech.wwi-psyche


Internships with Dr. Tappert are available for current students. Check in with the Career Development Center to set up a meeting to discuss opportunities or contact the History Department chair, Jeanne Petit.

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