Saint Louis University
Pius XII Memorial Library
Saturday, September 20, 2014
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

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One hundred years have elapsed, and the Great War still speaks to us. We struggle to make sense of the war’s sheer vastness, the huge number of casualties, and its industrial dimension. After four years of carnage, great dynastic empires fell, proletarian revolutions broke out, new nations were created, and a new international global order emerged.

The centenary of the war’s outbreak is a good occasion to reassess our relation with this haunting past. In this one-day event, scholars from various fields (literary studies, history, political science) and the public explore the impact of the Great War, as a means to reach a better understanding of our own times. Topics include colonial violence, modernist art, and trauma.


DAVID BORGMEYER is Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for International Studies at Saint Louis University in St. Louis.  He earned a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  Dr. Borgmeyer has taught in numerous other places in the U.S. and abroad, including Washington University in St. Louis and the Russian New University in Moscow.  His areas of scholarly interest include Russian modernist art and literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has lectured, presented, and published internationally, and he also serves as the President of the Central Slavic Conference.  Current scholarly projects include co-editing a volume on cultural identity in Russia and Eastern Europe and a handbook of Russian avant-garde art.

JIM HICKS was director of the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 2013-14, after serving as director of its graduate program. He is also executive editor of the Massachusetts Review. His research and teaching interests include cultural studies, representations of war, comparative studies in American literature, as well as modernist narrative and literary theory. He has studied in France, lectured in Italy, and taught in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a Fulbright Professor of English. From 2003-08, he directed an Educational Partnership Program with the University of Sarajevo as well as the American Studies Diploma Program at Smith College—a small, one-year graduate program for international students. His book Lessons from Sarajevo: A War Stories Primer was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2013.

JULIUS R. RUFF is professor of history at Marquette University, where he teaches courses  on the First World War in his department’s military history program. A specialist on the history of modern France, most especially the history of crime, justice, and the police military resources employed by society to maintain order, he is the author of  Crime, Justice and Public Order in Old Regime France: The Sénéchaussées of Libourne and Bazas, 1696-1789 and Violence in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800. He also is the co-author of a textbook, Discovering the Western Past: A Look at the Evidence, and is currently working on a study of banditry in eighteenth-century France.

NIL SANTIÁÑEZ is a professor of modern literature and international studies at Saint Louis University.  His books include Ángel Ganivet, escritor modernista: Teoría y novela en el fin de siglo español (1994), De la Luna a Mecanópolis: Antología de la ciencia ficción española (1832-1913) (1995), Ángel Ganivet: Una bibliografía anotada (1996), Investigaciones literarias: Modernidad, historia de la literatura y modernismos (2002), Goya/Clausewitz: Paradigmas de la guerra absoluta (2009), and Topographies of Fascism: Habitus, Space, and Writing in Twentieth-Century Spain (2013).  He has also authored articles, prologues, and book-chapters on eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century Spanish and European literature and culture.  He is currently working on The Spanish Fascism Reader and on a book titled Shattering the House of Fiction: Ethics and Poetics of Modern War Writing.

JENNIFER SESSIONS is a historian of modern France and its colonial empire whose research interests have focused on French settler colonialism in Algeria. Her first book, By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria (2011), traced the origins of France’s Algerian colony in mid-nineteenth century French political culture. She is now at work on two microhistorical projects exploring social and cultural life in French Algeria, one a study of the most prominent public monument in colonial Algiers and the other examining a 1901 uprising in the rural village of Margueritte (today Aïn Torki). Both of these projects are concerned with everyday life, social relations, and intercommunal violence in settler colonial contexts. Dr. Sessions teaches French and European history at the University of Iowa, where she is an associate professor of History.

VINCENT SHERRY is Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.  He teaches and writes about modernist literatures in English.  His books include The Uncommon Tongue: The Poetry and Criticism of Geoffrey Hill (1987), The Radical Modernism of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis (1993), James Joyce: ULYSSES (1995, 2nd ed. 2004), The Great War and the Language of Modernism (2003), and, forthcoming in November 2014, Modernism and the Reinvention of Decadence.  He has edited the Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War and is Editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of Modernism. He is currently working on A Literary History of the European War of 1914-1918

Organized by
The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
The Center for International Studies