Many view the Great War of 1914-18 as a distant historical event, unrelated to their lives. But, historians point out the war had a tremendous influence on most of the significant human events that followed -- including conflicts roiling the world today.
On March 27-28, Franklin & Marshall College will host the Central Pennsylvania Consortium's (CPC) symposium on World War I's enduring effects. "Legacies of the Great War: Remembering World War I After 100 Years" is sponsored by the departments of history and programs in Africana studies, Judaic studies, and women's and gender studies at F&M, Dickinson and Gettysburg colleges.
This is the first time that all the CPC area studies groups have joined together in one symposium, said Associate Professor of German Jennifer Redmann, one of the event's organizers.
"Considering the geopolitical problems occurring now in the Middle East, Ukraine and Europe, the importance of the First World War for our world today cannot be underestimated," she said.
The symposium will feature four authoritative academics, including the United Kingdom's Jenny Waldman, director of "14-18 Now," the U.K.'s four-year cultural arts program commemorating that nation's centenary of the First World War.
Waldman, whose 20 years' experience as a producer of large-scale international productions includes the London 2012 Festival, last year spoke about the purpose of the program in an interview with Run Riot, a London-based cultural arts magazine.
"'14-18 Now' invites artists from all around the world to explore the resonance of World War I today," Waldman said. "We believe that artists have a way of looking at things from a different perspective and opening up new stories."
The lecturers and panelists for "Legacies of the Great War" will tackle several questions, including how and why we should remember the First World War, whose stories should be told and how. The symposium is the culmination of F&M's two-semester commemoration of the World War I centenary.
In addition to Waldman, the following scholars will speak:
Susan Grayzel, professor of history and director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi
"Home and Front: Women and the First World War"
Marsha Rozenblit, the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at University of Maryland
"A Jewish Holy War or a War to Save the Habsburg Monarchy? How Jews in Austria-Hungary Made Sense of World War I"
Chad Williams, associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University
"Torchbearers of Democracy: The History and Legacy of African American Soldiers in World War I"
Panels featuring papers by students from each of the three colleges rounds out the symposium, which opens Friday, March 27, in the Bonchek Lecture Hall of the Ann and Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building at F&M. Franklin & Marshall Provost Joel Martin will give welcoming remarks, and Waldman's opening keynote will follow.
Lectures by the invited speakers and panels featuring presentations by students from the CPC colleges begin at 8:45 a.m. Saturday in Stahr Auditorium in Stager Hall. The day's final lecture and a closing panel discussion will be held in the Catering Suite of the Benjamin Franklin Dining Hall.
Four student panels on the legacies of the Great War begin at 10 a.m. in Stager Hall. Here is the list of topics and panelists:
Panel I: Divergent Memories of WWI
Panel Chair: Ian Isherwood, assistant director of the Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College
Of Romance and Rhetoric: The Palestine Campaign in the Memory of Major Vivian Gilbert
Kevin Lavery, junior history major, Gettysburg College
Growing Up in the Trenches: Fritz Draper Hurd and American Memory of the Great War
Sarah Johnson, senior history major, Gettysburg College
An Infinitely Bitter Leave-Taking: Gunther Plüschow and Postwar Wish Fulfillment in My Escape from Donington Hall
Heather Clancy, senior history major, Gettysburg College
Panel II: The Impact of World War I on Children and Youth
Panel Chair: Chris Bischof, visiting assistant professor of History, Franklin & Marshall College
Images of the Enemy in German and Anglo-American Girls' Novels of the First World War
Lenna Knoerr, junior German literature major, Franklin & Marshall College
Discourses of Masculinity and Femininity in German Youth Magazines during the First World War
Michael Malloy, senior German major, Franklin & Marshall College
New Zealand Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the 1918 Influenza Epidemic
Kathleen Lange, senior French major, Dickinson College
Panel III: Legacies of World War I in the 20th Century
Panel Chair: Regina Sweeney, associate professor of history, Dickinson College
The Development of Chemical Warfare throughout the First World War
Susan Buckenmaier, junior biochemistry and molecular biology major, Dickinson College
The Classroom of Battle: Reinterpreting the British Army's efforts on the Western Front in 1915
James Taub, senior history major, Dickinson College
World War I Commemoration in Germany
Jane Feldmann, senior English major, Dickinson College
Panel IV: World War I in Text and Film
Panel Chair: Kabi Hartman, senior adjunct assistant professor of English, Franklin & Marshall College
The Personification of Objects: The Conflation of Objects with Soldiers in Gallipoli (1981) and La Vie et Rien d'Autre (1989)
Laura Hart, senior biology major, Dickinson College
Epistemology of the Great War: Narratology and Female Authority in Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier
Mary Naydan, senior English major, Dickinson College
An American Story of the Great War: Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant of The New Republic
Wendy Moffat, professor of English, Dickinson College