USC-Upstate plans remembrance and study of world War I

08/05/2014 12:19 AM

08/05/2014 12:22 AM

As the world recognizes the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, professors at USC Upstate are planning a commemoration of the war and its effects on the Spartanburg area beginning this semester.

University spokeswoman Carolyn Farr-Shanesy said USC Upstate is planning events throughout the next five years to highlight the causes, myths, realities and impact of the war on the Upstate and the world. Public events on campus will include films, displays, book clubs and presentations.

General topics to be explored include military ramifications, changes in medicine, the roles of women, African Americans and education. Each semester will have a different focus, said Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, a French professor at Upstate, and the university welcomes public input.

“World War I really changed our world,” Hernandez-Laroche said. “We hope the community will come out and share how their families were affected by World War I. We look forward to input from the community to shape each semester.”

Hernandez-Larouche said her original plans were to start a book club related to the topic. But she quickly learned that other colleagues have expertise and interest in World War I, and the idea for the World War I initiative grew from there. Upstate history professors are participating in the project, as well as Frieda Davison, the university's library dean, who is writing a book on local veterans.

“She's putting a face to each name on the memorial at Duncan Park,” Hernandez-Laroche said.

Warren Carson, the university's chief diversity officer, brings a wealth of knowledge to the initiative about the war and its effects on African-Americans, and English professor Catherine Canino has traveled to Europe with students and visited major battlefields of the war there.

“We want to bring this to people's attention, because World War I is overshadowed by World War II,” Canino said. “World War I changed the whole global structure. It affected this country dramatically.”

Like Hernandez-Laroche, Canino stresses the importance of public input in the initiative.

“It's about Spartanburg and the Upstate, so we want the public involved,” Canino said.

Events for the 2014-15 academic year include lectures on the causes of the war, the Upstate's military installations and lost soldiers, American women in the war, the impact of trench warfare and a panel discussion of the impact of the war on Germany.

Fall presentations will have the theme, “International Causes, Local Effects.” These presentations are open to the public:

“How It All Began: Causes of World War I” by Robert McCormick, 6 p.m. Sept. 23, in the JM Smith Boardroom, Health Education Complex

“Spartanburg World War I Veterans” by Frieda Davison, noon Sept. 24, in the Campus Life Center, rooms 309 and 310

“Selected Views of World War I” by Tammy Pike and USC Upstate students, noon Sept. 26, in the University Readiness Center Atrium and Great Room

“Women and Warfare: The Experience of American Women during World War I” by Carmen Harris, 12:15 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Campus Life Center, rooms 309 and 310

For more information, contact Canino at ccanino@uscupstate.edu or 503-5657 or Hernandez-Larouche at ahernandez-larouche@uscupstate.edu or 503-5221.

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