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UT to host symposium on political and cultural changes brought by World War I

Not only did World War I reshape how modern wars would be fought, the conflict had an enormous effect on society as a whole across the globe.

“World War I was seen at the time as the ‘war to end all wars.’ It was the first global war and the first that was fought with weapons of mass destruction. It was historically important in its own right,” said Dr. Mysoon Rizk, professor of art history and director of the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities at The University of Toledo. “But the lead up to the World War I, the absurdities on the battlefield and the war’s aftermath all brought major changes in arts, politics and culture as the world tried to make sense of the bloodshed.”

Rizk is co-organizing a UT symposium titled “Memories of World War I,” which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 in Carlson Library Room 1005.

The symposium, one of several upcoming events at UT commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Nov. 11 armistice that effectively ended the war, will bring together a diverse collection of University and community scholars to discuss the effects of the war and its cultural representations in the United States and elsewhere.

Topics to be examined include the war’s effects and consequences on Northwest Ohio and U.S. politics, the cultural memory of the war in the U.S. and abroad, how the war shaped national identities, and the innovations in art, music, literature and theater that were triggered by World War I.

Of particular note is the focus on the experiences of women during World War I.

Dr. Friederike Emonds, associate professor of German and a symposium co-organizer, said much of our contemporary understanding of the war comes from the well-known male writers of the so-called Lost Generation, while women’s war literature of the time has been overlooked.

“As women were not allowed to join the military and fight at the front, women’s war experiences offer a different perspective on the war, allowing us new insights and perceptions that significantly contribute to our efforts to gain a more comprehensive understanding of World War I today,” Emonds said.

UT has a number of other upcoming events tied to the centennial of the end of World War I, including:

  • The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Written and directed by Dr. Matt Foss, assistant professor of theatre at UT, the play will be performed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Nov. 9-11, in the Center Theatre of UT’s Center for Performing Arts.
  • The University of Toledo Carlson Library will host a free screening of an English film adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front” from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Room 1005.
  • Through Dec. 14, the Carlson Library also is displaying World War I artifacts and photographs from the collections of Richard Oliver and the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections. The exhibit is located in the library’s main lobby.

For more information on the University’s Word War I centennial events, to register for the symposium or to purchase tickets for the theater adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” visit the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities website.

is Tyrel Linkhorn is UT's Media Relations Specialist. Contact him at 419.383.5376 or tyrel.linkhorn@utoledo.edu.
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