History Dept. to Host WWI Centennial Symposium

09-17-2014

It’s been 100 years since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria; an event that triggered a diplomatic crisis and set the First World War in motion in June 1914. In observation of the centennial occasion, the Virginia Wesleyan College History Department will host a fall symposium titled “100th Anniversary of the Outbreak of World War I.” The interdisciplinary event will include several presentations from September to December with participation from the College’s departments of history, religious studies, English and art history. In addition to various VWC faculty presentations, the symposium will feature two special guest speakers: Christopher Capozzola, an associate professor of history at MIT, will share insight into his 2008 book, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen (Oct. 28, 4:30 p.m., Blocker Auditorium). Lt. Colonel Olaf Wiedenfeld of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Allied Command Transformation (NATO-ACT) will lead a discussion on “World War One as the ‘Great Seminal Catastrophe’” (Nov. 18, 11 a.m., Blocker Auditorium). Batten Associate Professor of History Sara Sewell, who played a key role in organizing the symposium, commented on the lasting impact of the pivotal event: “The First World War was truly a watershed historical moment like few others. On the battlefront, it saw the mobilization of mass citizen armies as well as the deployment of a host of new weapons with mass destructive power. It also created a new concept—the home front—which witnessed a host of momentous changes, including women's emancipation.” Sewell will kick off the symposium on Sept. 25 with her presentation, “The War They Didn’t Expect” (11 a.m., Blocker Auditorium). More