Colloquium to reflect on 100th anniversary of World War I Armistice

November 07, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Nov. 11, 1918, the Armistice between Allied forces and imperial Germany ended World War I. And although the guns, as the cliché has it, fell silent, the end of the war was neither swift nor smooth — violence continued to explode across Eastern Europe and the Middle East; disease and famine sapped public health; and economies reeled. In short, the dislocation and discontent of peoples, cultures and mentalities caused by the war did not end, but in fact helped lay the groundwork for World War II less than two decades later.

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Scholars from around the globe will visit Penn State Nov. 12 and 13 to participate in "Dislocation: Beyond War's End,” an international colloquium that reflects on the Armistice and explores the myriad ways that world conflicts did not end with its signing.

IMAGE: Penn State Humanities Institute

On Nov. 12 and 13, 2018 – nearly 100 years to the day after its signing – scholars from around the globe will visit Penn State for an international colloquium marking the Armistice centenary. However, “Dislocation: Beyond War's End,” hosted by the Humanities Institute and the Rock Ethics Institute, will explore the myriad ways that the First World War failed to end in November 1918.

“We didn’t want to host a conference that simply ‘commemorated’ the war’s end because it remains an open question as to what did and didn’t come to an end with the signing of the Armistice,” said Nicolas de Warren, Penn State associate professor of philosophy and co-organizer of the conference along with Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Penn State professor of history. “We’re interested in exploring the impact the end of the war had on mentalities, practices and cultures as Europe and the world attempted to move forward. The violence didn’t come to an end, and there was still a good deal of dislocation that took place after the Armistice.”

Speakers during the colloquium will discuss the many social, demographic and cultural dislocations that actually did not come to an end with the end of the war, as well as the myriad efforts that took place — individually, collectively, and officially — to reduce, or conversely to deepen, dislocation. Laura Englestein, Henry S. McNeil Professor Emerita of Russian History at Yale University, will deliver the keynote lecture, titled “Displacements Large and Small: Morris Greenfield Survives the War and Revolution.”

Englestein’s lecture will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium; all other lectures will take place in the Assembly Room of the Nittany Lion Inn. A complete schedule of presentations, all of which are free and open to the public, can be found at http://hi.psu.edu/special-initiatives-and-programs/humanities-institutes-wwi-conference.

Additional support for the conference is provided by Lewis and Karen Gold; the Max Kade Foundation; the Penn State Department of French and Francophone Studies; the Penn State Department of Philosophy; the Penn State Department of History; and the Penn State Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. For additional information, please contact Lauren Kooistra, associate director of the Humanities Institute, at lkk132@psu.edu.

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Last Updated November 14, 2018