A COMMEMORATIVE WEBSITE ON WORLD WAR I FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Professor Tamara Chaplin
Office: 419B Gregory Hall
Office Hours: Mon 1-3pm
or by appointment
Professor Peter Fritzsche
Office: 300A Gregory Hall
Office Hours: Mon 3-5pm
or by appointment
MW 11:00am -12:20pm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
* This site was built by Dr. Tamara Chaplin with vital assistance from research assistants Deirdre Ruscitti (History) and Estibalitz Ezkerra (Comparative and World Literature).
“You will be home before the leaves
We are now in the midst of the hundredth anniversary of World War I. Lasting from 1914 to 1918 and known as “The Great War” to those unaware that more carnage would soon blight the history of the twentieth century, World War I stands as the first incarnation in human history of modern industrial warfare on a truly global scale. This bloody conflict permanently recast the ways in which nations and peoples have considered, experienced and commemorated not just military conflict, but both Western and global culture, society, industry, politics and economics writ large.
The Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is participating in a campus-wide commemoration of this historic event via a team taught large lecture course, HIST258A: World War I and the Making of the Global Twentieth Century, which attempts to come to grips with World War I's astonishing historical legacy. Taught by award-winning professors Tamara Chaplin and Peter Fritzsche, this course also features guest lectures from colleagues in UIUC's History Department as well as from colleagues in other departments on campus. This initiative has benefited from a Provost's Faculty Retreat Grant which funded research assistance by UIUC graduate students Deirdre Ruscitti and Esti Ezkerra.
Our canvas is broad: we will not only learn about the chronology of the war—from its origins and military operations, to its political ramifications (including the demise of empires and the rise of Soviet socialist communism), to competing experiences of battlefront and homefront (with their technological and industrial innovations—including such diverse aspects as aerial and trench warfare, the use of gas and chemical weapons, food rationing, war bonds and the feminization of the workforce), but we will also study the war’s psychological and embodied effects (shell-shock, trauma, amputation, prosthetics, plastic surgery and disability) as well as the artistic and cultural attempts to acknowledge, represent and memorialize its devastation (in poetry, art, music, dance, theatre, film and literature).
Our sources will be equally varied; we will read history, fiction and memoir, examine newspaper coverage, cartoons, propaganda posters, photographs and film and analyze geographic, architectural and cartographic evidence of World War I’s destruction and commemoration. We also hope to think hard together about how this history has shaped our present concerns, from our attitudes towards such issues as terrorism and human rights, to our understandings of masculinity, sexuality and gender, to our ideas about peace-making, revolution, religion and global apocalypse.
This website is an introduction to some of the themes and issues that our class will address.