Yearlong World War I Commemoration Underway

Carolina is marking the centenary of World War I in 2014-15 with a yearlong, interdisciplinary “conversation” among faculty, students and the community, examining the war’s legacy and impact.

Events kick off this month with a multimedia production, “Dolly Wilde’s Picture Show,” and an international conference, “The Five Fronts of World War I.”

“World War I literally reshaped international trade, military science, gender and work roles, and the creation and endurance of nation states,” said John McGowan, a professor of English and comparative literature. McGowan is spearheading the project with Bill Balthrop, a professor of communications studies. “Our goal is to raise awareness of and interest in the war’s significance and impact.”

The project, coordinated by UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities, features more than 20 undergraduate and graduate courses as well as seminars, lectures, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, dramatic performances, music and dance events, and a workshop for K–12 teachers.

“Dolly Wilde’s Picture Show” will be performed at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and 22 in Swain Hall, Studio 6. Playwright Rebecca Nesvet ’14 (PhD) combines live performance and multimedia to tell the story of Oscar Wilde’s niece, one of WWI’s first female “motor-drivers.”

The two-day conference, co-hosted by UNC and Kings College London, includes a public roundtable discussion at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in Gerrard Hall, featuring scholars Andrew Lambert and William Philpott of Kings College London and Sam Williamson of UNC.

Beginning in September, a monthly lecture series will bring to UNC top scholars examining the causes and experience of the war from many perspectives and disciplines. The series launches at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in Gerrard Hall, with Christopher Clark, professor of modern European history at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, speaking on “The Causes of World War I.”

Funding and support for the project are provided by the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust, Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and Paul Green Foundation. UNC partners and contributors include the College of Arts and Sciences; Office of the Chancellor; the curriculum in peace, war and defense; Carolina Performing Arts; PlayMakers Repertory Company; and the music, drama and history departments.

More online…

  • Carolina in the War:
    “Twenty-Two Hundred and Forty Carolina Men Have Entered Service”
    “Thirty-Four Carolina Men Make Supreme Sacrifice”
    From the Alumni Review, December 1918. Similar coverage can be found in issues from this era in the Review’s archive.