3/09/2015 Peter Durantine

Three Colleges Join to Explore Impacts of First World War

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.

  • Australian war correspondent Charles Bean finds himself in the muddy trenches on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme in the winter of 1916-17. Image Credit: Courtesy of the Australia War Memorial

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.

  • A young French girl attempts to sell what appear to be bars of chocolate to a small group of soldiers. Image Credit: Courtesy of National Library of Scotland
  • French General Henri Gouraud visits a school of instruction for officers on the Western Front. Image Credit: Courtesy of National Library of Scotland
  • A Canadian battalion climbs out of the trenches and into battle. Image Credit: Courtesy of National Library of Scotland
  • Two German cameramen film on the Western Front in 1917. Image Credit: Courtesy of Deutsches Bundesarchiv
  • American soldiers bring the wounded to a French field hospital. Image Credit: Courtesy of Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health & Medicine
  • An American soldier spots targets at an artillery observation post in 1918. Image Credit: Courtesy of the United States Signal Corps

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

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