W&S courses for Fall 2015!!

We’ve got a nice, rich line-up of War and Society eligible courses this coming Fall term, both for the W&S undergraduate minor and the two graduate concentrations. Here they are:

For the W&S undergraduate minor:

HST3100-01: War in European History (Dr. Lockhart). 10:10 – 11:05 MWF. ***NEW COURSE***

HST3600-01: US Military History (Dr. Winkler). 12:20 – 1:15 pm MWF.

HST3900-01: Global Encounters (Dr. Oldstone-Moore). 11:00 am – 12:20 pm TR.

HST3900-02: Atlantic World History (Dr. McIlvenna). 9:30 – 10:50 TR.

HST4000-01: Roman Republic (Dr. Edwards). MWF 2:30 – 3:25 pm.

HST4050-01: Medieval Myths and Legends (Dr. Beck). MWF 10:10 – 11:05 am.

HST4550-01: US Rise to Power (Dr. Winkler). MWF 2:30 – 3:25 pm.

HST4850-01: Living History (Dr. Lockhart). MWF 11:15 am – 12:10 pm. ***NEW COURSE***


For the W&S and W&S/Public History graduate concentrations:

HST6000-01: Roman Republic (Dr. Edwards). 2:30 – 3:25 pm MWF.

HST6050-01: Medieval Myths and Legends (Dr. Beck). 10:10 – 11:05 am MWF.

HST6550-01: US Rise to Power (Dr. Winkler). 2:30 – 3:25 pm MWF.

HST6850-01: Living History (Dr. Lockhart). 11:15 am – 12:10 pm MWF. ***NEW COURSE***

HST7330-01: Middle East WWII – Present (Dr. Halabi). 4:40 – 7:20 pm M.


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Thirty some-odd years in the making. Well, maybe not thirty-some-odd, but a very long time regardless. I’m pleased to announce that Wright State War & Society will be offering another first. Our first first — the War & Society/Public History concentration, aimed at PH students who have a special interest in military history or who might be aiming for a career in a museum or historic site with a military history focus.

And now our second first (ahem!): a course on “Living History and Reenacting.”

I’m sure that a few eyes will roll at this one, but I have my reasons. I’ve been involved in living history and reenacting since I was in my mid-teens (in the late seventies). All military-related. First Civil War, then American Revolution, then seventeenth century (both English Civil War and Thirty Years’ War), and most lately the World Wars. Mostly it’s been for fun; lately it’s had a lot to do with family, as my older sons are both avid reenactors. But it’s been a big part of my life for a very long time. As a professional historian, I’ve struggled with my feelings about living history, and like many academic historians I have deep reservations about reenacting and reenactors: their concern with material culture above all other things, their sometimes minimal understanding of the larger historical context of the eras they reenact, the degree of ancestor-worship and overt sentimentality that often colors reenacting. But as a reenactor, I can state categorically that living history has taught me much that I couldn’t learn any other way; as I writer, I can say that I’ve taken away lots of intangibles that have helped my prose considerably. When you’ve actually eaten cold boiled salt pork in the pouring rain, or dragged a 150-pound (and more) water-cooled machine gun through the mud, you have an idea — just an idea, but better than nothing at all — of the challenges that have faced soldiers throughout history.

Either way, reenacting brings people to history in a way that few other things can. Living history programs at open-air museums (Colonial Williamsburg, Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, et al.) and a NPS battlefields reach millions of “history tourists” annually. Thousands more participate directly in living history-related activities, including battle reenactments; hundreds of thousands more watch these events every year. Living history, in other words, reaches a much broader public than can be served by academic historians, and it “brings history to life” in a way that few museums can by means of static displays alone. For those reasons alone, historians ought to take it more seriously. But there is a disconnect between the worlds of living history and academic history. And that’s unfortunate.

paul gettysburg 2003

Dr. Lockhart at the Gettysburg 140th event, 2003.

In this class, I’ll be introducing students to the history of reenacting and living history, the interesting (and sometimes, to outsiders, very very weird) subcultures of reenacting. We’ll look at what we can teach and learn through reenacting — its potential, in other words — and what we can’t teach or learn through reenacting. We’ll look at what reenactors get wrong, and what they get right. MOST IMPORTANT — we’ll be doing as well as discussing. We’ll look at the kind of research that goes into (or ought to go into) the individual personae that reenactors and “living historians” portray (that, by the way, is called an “impression”), and the kind of research and work that goes into a larger living history “program” at an historic site. And it won’t just be about uniforms and firearms and gear … or even just about soldiers. Historical reenacting might be mostly oriented around military subjects and wars, but that doesn’t mean that it’s only about military personnel. We’ll be looking at “civilian” roles, portrayal of cultural expressions and attitudes, and about “period” lifeways — food, work, language, everyday life.

What do I hope to achieve with this? Lots, actually. For those who are already involved in living history, I hope we can shed a little light on what can be done with this activity. For those who are new to living history but interested in it, I hope we can do the same that we do for the “veterans,” but also to give you a place to start and a direction to pursue. For students interested in a career in public history, I hope that we can generate some ideas as to what can be done with reenactors and practitioners of living history, to enhance the educational value of museums and historic sites. And for everybody, including myself, I hope to have fun. Actually, I intend to have fun.

Assigned texts will include Tony Horwitz’s best-selling Confederates in the Attic, Stacy Roth’s Past into Present, and Scott Magelssen’s Enacting History.

HST4850/6850-01, Fall Semester 2012. 11:15am – 12:10pm MWF, Dayton campus.

Any questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at paul.lockhart@wright.edu.

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War and Society course offerings at Wright State, Summer 2015

homer cw1

Here they are. Fall course list will be posted in the next week or so. Any questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at paul.lockhart@wright.edu.

Summer 2015:

  • HST4100/6100-A01: The Art of War in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1789. MTWR 9:50 – 11:30am. Instructor: Dr. Lockhart [HST4100 qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor; HST6100 qualifies for graduate concentrations in W&S and Public History/W&S (see below)]. Offered Summer A session only.
  • HST4450/6650-A01: Middle East, WWII to Present. TR 4:40 – 8:05pm. Instructor: Dr. Halabi. [HST4450 qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor; HST6650 qualifies for graduate concentrations in W&S and Public History/W&S (see below)]. Offered Summer A session only.
  • HST4870-A01: Veteran’s Voices Oral History. MW 4:40 – 8:05pm. Instructor: Ms. Bridget Newbury. [Qualifies for W&S undergraduate minor]. Offered Summer A session only.
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New graduate concentration: Public History/War & Society

Some of you know about this already, but now it’s finally here: a joint MA/History concentration in both Public History and War & Society. When we started the W&S graduate concentration, a good number of Public History students expressed their regret that they couldn’t do both. That was a compelling reason to make a “hybrid” of the two, in and of itself, but it also occurred to us that there were possibly better reasons to do so. Perhaps most important is career-based — namely, that there are LOTS of military museums in the United States (one of the largest, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, is practically across the street, so to speak) and LOTS MORE museums that have significant military components. Military history is a popular topic in most college/university history programs, but as far as we can tell there’s been no effort, anywhere, to integrate military history and public history. So, I think it’s safe to say that we have something to brag about. While there are many “military history” and “war and society” programs, undergraduate and graduate, nationwide, Wright State University has the ONLY program to combine the two.

The basic outline of the degree is the same as that for a conventional concentration in Public History, but with an emphasis on the history of war and additional coursework in the history of war. In a nutshell, here are the concentration requirements:

1. Total number of credits: 44 credit hours (instead of the current 38).

2. Required Academic Core courses: 18 credit hours (instead of the current 12). Students in the Public History/War and Society concentration are required to complete fifteen hours (five courses) of designated “War and Society” coursework. At least six of those hours (two courses) must be earned in seminars (HST7100 – 7830). Students must also take Historical Methods (HST7000, 3 hours) for a total of eighteen hours. Two of the courses (excluding HST7000) may cover non-US topics.

3. Required Public History courses: The same requirements as for the conventional Public History concentration, except that the required “capstone project” (HST7900) will involve a war-related subject, collection, or exhibit, at the discretion of the director of Public History and the coordinator for War and Society.

Any questions? Email Dr. Lockhart (paul.lockhart@wright.edu).20140507_105226 cropped

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Two more WWI events…

I know it’s short notice, but try to get to these anyway:

Thursday, 16 October 2014, 12:30 – 2:00 pm. “Civilians and the Labor of War, 1914 – 1918,” a lecture by Dr. Tammy Proctor, professor of history at Utah State University (and formerly of Wittenberg University). Wright State, Millett Hall Atrium. Sponsored by WSU CELIA. Details here.

Friday, 14 November 2014, 2:30 pm: “Neither Sweet Nor Decorous: American Poetry in the First Year of the First World War,” a lecture by Dr. Mark Van Wienen, Professor of English at Northern Illinois University. Professor Van Wienen is the editor of Rendezvous With Death: American Poems of the Great War (University of Illinois Press, 2002) and the author of Partisans and Poets: The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War (Cambridge University Press, 1997) as well as a number of articles about American literature and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wright State, Millett Hall Atrium. Sponsored by WSU CELIA.

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Upcoming W&S events: music and info (and in that order)…

Two things on the horizon: “While Your Hearts Are Yearning” and W&S information session

OK, listen up:

1. Information session for War and Society: the History Club at Wright State has graciously invited Dr. Lockhart to chat about the War and Society minor, the War and Society graduate concentrations, and the WWI commemoration at Wright State. Tuesday, 14 October 2014, 6:30pm, Dixon Hearth Lounge, Wright State Student Union. Questions? Email Dr. Lockhart at paul.lockhart@wright.edu or Lukas Schweikert at schweikert.4@wright.edu.

2. Saturday, 11 October, 7:30pm, at Schuster Hall in Wright State’s Creative Arts Center: “While Your Hearts Are Yearning: Popular Music of the Great War,” a concert of British, American, Canadian, and Australian popular songs and soldier’s ditties from WWI. The first event in WSU’s CELIA (Collaborative Education, Leadership, and Innovation in the Arts, an Ohio Center of Excellence) program commemorating the centennial of the First World War, this concert has been put together under the very capable direction of our own multi-talented Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore, Senior Lecturer in History at Wright State. Faculty and students from WSU’s School of Music will perform. Free and open to the public! Come on out to support Dr. Oldstone-Moore, the History Department, and War & Society!


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First W&S-sponsored event a success!

Dr. Issam Nassar’s lecture (9/18/14) on WWI in the Middle East, the Ottoman 1915 campaign to seize the Suez Canal, and photography in the war was a resounding success. I think we probably pulled in close to a hundred attendants, and of that I’m very proud. Here’s to more War & Society-sponsored events in the future…this year, even!Issam Nassar lecture 9-18-14

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[And we’re sponsoring it!!!!]

Ottoman troops Jerusalem Nablus Rd

Ottoman troops on the Nablus Road, Jerusalem

When we think of the First World War, it’s the Western Front that usually springs to mind. But it was a world war, after all, fought on many fronts, and not just in Europe. The fighting in the Middle East was equally crucial, and the impact of the Great War on the region is still very much visible today. Professor Issam Nassar (Department of History, Illinois State University) will discuss Jamal Pasha’s failed attempt to seize control of the Suez Canal in 1915, featuring images by local Jerusalem photographers Khalil Raad and John Whiting. The Raad/Whiting photos show Ottoman preparations for the war, the men and commanders of Pasha’s Fourth Ottoman Army, military installations, and much more, bringing this largely forgotten campaign back to life. Using photographs as historical documents, Dr. Nassar will examine the role photography — and propaganda — played in the war.

The event is open and free to the public. Free parking is available to visitors (go to the WSU Parking Services website here); Dr. Nassar will speak in the large lecture hall in Oelman (109 Oelman; see campus map here).

Event sponsors: War & Society, Wright State University; Department of Art and Art History, Wright State; Department of History, Wright State; University Center for International Education, Wright State.

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Fall 2014: Welcome back, Wright State W&S students!!!

george matthews harding sept 1918We’ve got a big year ahead of us. Here’s a few highlights:

*new War and Society concentration: the long-awaited (well, not really that long) War & Society/Public History “hybrid” concentration! Now PH students can specialize in military-related topics, too, and like W&S thesis/course-intensive students, that accomplishment will be specially denoted on the transcript. Plus, like W&S, you can pick it as your concentration when you apply on-line. Still in approval stages, but should be official by the end of this semester!

*World War I! World War I! World War I! Like many colleges and universities world-wide, we’ll be commemorating the centennial of the Great War. And at Wright State, the commemoration will be a big one. A concert series, a lecture series, films…and that’s just this year. A major, long-term exhibit on “Dayton in the Great War” is in the works, to be hosted by Dayton History/Carillon Park starting in early 2016, and Dr. Lockhart is working on a documentary film on the same subject. This deserves its own post, and it will get one. In the meantime, check out Dayton in the Great War.

*For undergrads: a minor in War & Society. Should be approved and ready-to-go by the end of the Fall Semester 2014.

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A War to End All Innocence – NYTimes.com


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