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World War I Centenary at F&M

  • World War I Centary at F&M

Submitted by Maria Mitchell, Professor of History, Chair of Judaic Studies

The World War I Steering Committee is excited to share with you the rich variety of activities planned for 2014-2015 to commemorate the First World War at Franklin & Marshall College.  

We ask you to contact us with additional ideas or proposals or to be involved in any of the events below.  We are particularly eager to hear from faculty considering teaching courses devoted entirely or in part to World War I in the academic year 2014-2015.  Currently, we have a number of dedicated courses proposed, including a team-taught course in Fall 2014 titled World War I: The War to End All Wars facilitated by Jennifer Redmann (GER).

  • Under the leadership of Jennifer Redmann, the Steering Committee is organizing with the Central Pennsylvania Consortium (CPC) a major conference at F&M on March 28, 2015 titled “World War I Centenary: Perspectives on the Great War in the 21st Century,” at which Jenny Waldman, creative producer for the 2012 London Olympics cultural festival and official director of Britain's commemorative program for World War I, will be a keynote speaker. 
  • On November 6, 2014, the Steering Committee will host a Common Hour featuring Scott Salmon '12, author of an honors thesis on F&M and other institutions of higher education in WWI; the F&M Orchestra playing Gustav Holst's "The Planets;" and poetry read by Writers House community members. 
  • In October 2014, Jay Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University and renowned scholar of World War I, will visit F&M as the 2014-2015 Mueller Fellow and speak at Common Hour.
  • The Steering Committee has collaborated with the MUS and TDF Departments to propose a variety of Fall 2014 programs, including a choral-orchestral work composed by Professor John Carbon (MUS) in collaboration with Professor Emerita Sarah White (FRN).  The work will draw on World War I texts to be performed by the F&M College Chorus and Chamber Singers.  The Sound Horizons music series will feature a WWI-related piece at one of its concerts and the TDF Department plans to stage a play by Shakespeare at the time of WWI.  Professor Lynn Brooks (TDF) is working to bring Lori Belilove to campus to recreate the dance of Isadora Duncan, who was deeply influenced by the war. 
  • The Phillips Museum has approved two war-related exhibitions – “Before Rosie the Riveter: Women and Work in WWI” curated by Misty Bastian (ANT) and Julie Kopperman ’14 and "Building Memory: American Architects and the Great War" designed by Kostis Kourelis (ART). 
  • Plans are in place for a film series in the College Houses; a reading group on Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth in the Joseph International Center, sponsored by the International Studies Program and led by Kabi Hartman (ENG); and a Writers House reading of First World War poets and writers. 
  • Finally, a reading group this semester in Ware College House will focus on Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.  (Please contact Jennifer Redmann if you would like to participate.)

To quote Jay Winter, "World War I created the fundamental elements of 20th century history.  Genocide emerged as an act of war.  So did the use of poison gas on the battlefield.  The international system was totally transformed.  On the political right fascism came out of the war; on the left a communist movement emerged backed by the Soviet Union.  Reluctantly, but unavoidably, America became a world power. The British Empire reached its high point and started to unravel."  To assert that our world today is unimaginable without the First World War is perhaps to state the obvious.  In commemorating the war, we hope to educate our students and ourselves about the war's complex legacies and, in so doing, enhance our understanding of the contemporary world.

We invite you to join us in remembering the outbreak of the war to end all wars.  Please do not hesitate to let us know if you would like to participate in any of the events listed above or have any additional programming suggestions.

Yours sincerely,

The World War I Steering Committee

Sylvia Alajaji (MUS)
Misty Bastian (ANT)
Leah Brenner '15
Tim Brixius (College Communications)
Nicole Hoover (Academic Department Coordinator, PHI)
Julie Kopperman '14
Maria Mitchell (HIS)
Jennifer Redmann (GER)