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Nation's Leading Historians to Headline OU 'Teach-In on the First World War'

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Nation's Leading Historians to Headline OU 'Teach-In on the First World War'



NORMAN — Best-selling author H.W. Brands and internationally noted historian John Horne will headline the University of Oklahoma’s “Teach-In on the First World War,” set for Monday, March 7, on OU’s Norman campus. They will be joined by four additional leading scholars who will share their perspectives on this era in world history during the daylong event, which is open to the public.

Brands, who presents history through stories, will speak at lunch on “We’re All Wilsonians, Whether We Like It or Not.” His books, The First American and Traitor to His Class were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Prize. He has written 25 books, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and many other newspapers, magazines and journals. His writings have earned critical and popular acclaim. Brands is a regular guest of national radio and television programs and is frequently interviewed by the American and foreign press. His writings have been published in several countries and translated into German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Brands worked as an oral historian at the University of Texas School of Law and has taught at Vanderbilt University. Other teaching positions include Texas A&M University, where he remained for 17 years, and in 2005, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he currently holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History.

Horne, who will speak at dinner on the topic of “World War One: Rethinking the Centenary,” is the author and editor of a number of books and more than 80 chapters and articles, many relating to the history of the war. His monographs include German Atrocities, 1914. A History of Denial, which he co-authored with Alan Kramer, and Labour at War. France and Britain, 1914-1918. He is currently writing a history of the French experience of World War I. Horne serves as a board member of the Research Centre of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, the main international museum of the Great War in France. He serves on the French National Commission for the Commemoration of the Great War. Horne is emeritus professor of modern European history at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he continues to direct the Centre for War Studies, and Leverhulme visiting professor at Oxford University.

The Teach-In will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St., with the first talk, “Christendom’s Last Holy War? The First World War as a Crusade” by Philip Jenkins, who has published 25 books, which have been translated into 16 languages. Jenkins is a distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and serves as co-director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies and Religion.

The next session will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the subject of “Recycling the Disabled: Modern Medicine in the First World War” by Heather Perry, whose current book project, Feeding War: Gender, Health, and Mobilization in WWI Germany, examines the history of food, nutritional health and the domestic sphere in World War I Germany. She has published on the histories of medicine and war, the history of technology, and disability studies. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Military Press of Georgia’s WWI Centennial Book Series. An associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, her research focuses on the social, cultural and medical history of modern Germany, as well as the First World War.

The luncheon will feature an address on “We’re All Wilsonians, Whether We Like It or Not” by Brands.

The afternoon sessions, which will be in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center, will begin at 2 p.m. and feature Christopher Capozzola, a historian whose book, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen, examines the American home front during World War I, and whose lecture will connect national politics to the wartime history of Oklahoma. Capozzola will speak on “Uncle Sam Wants You: Oklahoma, the First World War, and the Making of Modern America.” He is an associate professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the co-curator of an exhibition at the National World War I Museum and has appeared in World War I documentaries for History, Who Do You Think You Are? and History Detectives.

The next session will begin at 3 p.m. for a talk titled “The First World War in the Middle East” by Eugene Rogan, a historian and author on modern Middle Eastern history. In his newest book, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, he explores the often ignored story of the region’s crucial role in World War I. His works have been translated into 15 languages. Rogan is a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford and is director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College in Oxford.

A 4 p.m. panel discussion on “How the First World War Shaped the Modern World” will be moderated by Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and associate professor at the OU College of International Studies. It will feature all of the day’s speakers, including Brands and Horne.

The event will conclude with a dinner featuring an address by Horne on “World War One: Rethinking the Centenary.”

Reservations are required for all sessions. For more information and accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the OU Office of Public Affairs at (405) 325-3784 or email For information regarding the Teach-In and a complete schedule of events, please visit the website at

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