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UC San Diego Lecture Series Explores Legacy of WWI, the ‘War to End All Wars’


“World War I and the Birth of the Modern World,” a free public lecture series featuring UC San Diego faculty, launches on Oct. 14 and continues through Dec. 2.

World War I was the seminal catastrophe of the 20th century and shaped the modern world like few other events, said Frank Biess, professor of history at UC San Diego and one of the organizers. In this lecture series, distinguished experts from the university will explore the impact of World War I on politics, culture and society in Europe, the Middle East and in the United States. How did WWI give rise to the defining features of the ensuing century? Why did the “war to end all wars” lead to unprecedented violence? And what are its enduring legacies in the present?

“In this 100th anniversary year of the start of what people at the time called ‘The Great War,’’’ Biess said, “we want to provide informal but informed commentary on the results of that conflict for the contemporary world. From the situation in the Middle East to what’s going on in Europe, we are still feeling the impacts of WWI to this day.”

All lectures will be held in the Great Hall of International House on the UC San Diego campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; lectures are on selected Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. See full line-up below.

Admission is free but registration is requested: online or by phone, 858-822-5297.

  • Oct. 14, “The Western World on the Brink: World War I and Modernism” with Steven Cassedy, professor of literature at UC San Diego.
  • Oct. 21, “Mass Death: World War I and the History of 20th-Century Violence,” with Frank Biess, professor of history at UC San Diego.
  • Nov. 4, “Revolution and Counter-Revolution: World War I and the Age of Extremes,” with Pamela Radcliff, professor of history at UC San Diego.
  • Nov. 18, “Self-Determination: World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” with Michael Provence, associate professor of history at UC San Diego.
  • Dec. 2, “Over Here: World War I and the ‘American Century,’” with Rebecca Plant, associate professor of history at UC San Diego.

The series is presented by the UC San Diego Department of History and the European Studies Program, with co-sponsorship by the university’s Division of Arts and Humanities, Center for the Humanities, International House, and Revelle and Eleanor Roosevelt colleges.

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