WWI Panel Convened at OSU Special Collections

72431244_97764402_getty_graphic_soldier_andfield_of_poppies-300x176What did WWI mean for the concept of citizenship and for citizens as they experienced and later commemorated the sacrifices made?

History of Science graduate students Tamara Caulkins and Matt McConnell review and discuss the recent WW1 panel discussion held at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center.

Read their full article on the History of Science


You can watch all four presentations on the Citizenship and Crisis homepage at:

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World War 1: A Reader’s Guide

SleepwalkersAs you are aware by now I am an historian, and a historian’s answer to almost any question is something like: ‘ there must be a book about that; I need to find it (them); I need to read it (them).’

With that in mind I want to provide a brief list of books that I have found helpful as I have tried to gain a better understanding of the war in which my great-uncle died.  This is by no means an extensive list – there have been thousands of books written about the war and I have not even scratched the surface.  Still, you have to begin somewhere.  If you find any of these interesting, do what trained historians do – keep reading!

(S. Rubert)

You can read the full list of WW1 must-read books on Dr. Rubert’s blog ‘Exploring WW1.’

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Hamblin Wins the 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize

Jacob Darwin HamblinCongratulations go out to Jacob Darwin Hamblin, associate professor of history at Oregon State University, who has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize for his latest book Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2013).

The Birdsall Prize is awarded biennially by the American Historical Association (AHA) to honor the most important work published in English on European military or strategic history since 1870. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s 129th Annual Meeting in New York, NY, January 2-5, 2015.

Get your copy here!

Dr. Hamblin is also the Director of the new Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative at Oregon State.   You can learn more about Dr. Hamblin here.

Hamblin’s book was selected by a prize review committee of AHA members including Jonathan Reed Winkler, Chair (Wright State Univ.), Nicoletta F. Gullace (Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham), and David Holloway (Stanford Univ.).

“Hamblin has crafted an international history of the creation of ‘catastrophic environmentalism,’ the idea that mankind could and should interfere with the environment to achieve strategic ends,” commented Jonathan Reed Winkler, the 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize Committee chair and associate professor of history at Wright State University. “The implications of his discoveries will reach beyond the fields of military and strategic history.”

The Birdsall Prize was established in 1985 by a generous gift from Professor Hans Gatzke, who remained anonymous until his death. Paul Birdsall (d. 1970) was a historian of European diplomatic and military affairs and a foreign service officer.

The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. The AHA provides leadership for the discipline, protects academic freedom, develops professional standards, aids in the pursuit and publication of scholarship, and supplies various services to sustain and enhance the work of its members. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA is comprised of over 13,000 members and serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area.

For further information, visit www.historians.org or call 202-544-2422.

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WW1 and Poetry at Flander’s Field

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

I should have asked by friend Chris,  a published poet and professor of English, to verify my hunch – that there was more poetry written during the First World War (WW1) than any other war.   Authors of virtually every general history of the war I’ve read use poems throughout their narratives; poems to try and convey the emotions of war the impact of the events on the individual; the pain of losing a friend or seeing so many die.  As a rule, a poet connects with those aspects of being human much better than we historians.

Read more from Steve Rubert on ‘Poetry and War’ on his timely blog Exploring World War I in Belgium and The Netherlands.

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New Religious Studies Degree Program

More than 20 years after the religious studies degree program was eliminated, Oregon State University is bringing it back. OSU students will be able to declare religious studies as a major beginning with the upcoming winter term.

The religious studies degree will emphasize religious literacy, helping students understand how religion shapes the world and affects society, said Amy Koehlinger, an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU.

“Religion is one of the most powerful social, economic and political forces in the world,” she said. “Given how fast globalization is occurring, religious literacy is becoming more and more important.”

Religious studies is the study of religion in an academic setting, with an emphasis on skills such as critical thinking, discernment, deliberation, responsibility, courage and civility. The program will emphasize how religion is used to make sense of the world, in good ways and in bad, Koehlinger said.

“A religious studies major gives students the opportunity to have a deep understanding of religion as a powerful social force,” she said. “Students are trained to think critically and neutrally, and with a lot of subtlety about religion.”

The religious studies program is housed in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion, but faculty members from throughout the College of Liberal Arts will teach courses for the new degree, Koehlinger said. The interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion will include courses in history, philosophy, anthropology, art, literature and film.

One area of emphasis is on the religions of Southeast Asia, including Budhhism, Hinduism and Islam. Associate Professor Stuart Sarbacker is an expert on the religions of India and Associate Professor Hung-Yok Ip is an expert on China.

Another area of emphasis is on religion and ethics as they relate to sexuality, friendship, forgiveness, end-of-life issues, the environment and medicine, said Courtney Campbell, the Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture at OSU.

The new program is well-suited to students who are interested in working internationally, in business, international relations or other fields; it’s also a good choice for students interested in graduate school in law, medicine or politics, Koehlinger said.

Students can earn a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of science or an honors bachelor of arts or science degree in religious studies. A minor in religious studies is also available. The new degrees were approved by the OSU Board of Trustees over the summer, with final approval from the state Higher Education Coordinating Committee, Campbell said.

The 2014 Ideas Matter lecture series sponsored by the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture will help showcase and celebrate the new major. The lecture series, titled “Healings and Hurtings: Religion, Self and the Body,” will focus on the connection between religion and the body.

Lectures are scheduled for Oct. 27, Nov. 5, Nov. 10 and Nov. 18. All events are free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Journey Room in the Memorial Union on the OSU campus in Corvallis. For a full listing of speakers and topics, visit http://bit.ly/ZtmVYj.

Story by Michelle Klampe, OSU News and Communications

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Confluences: Our 2014 Newsletter

When two rivers meet, they create a confluence. The merger of one with the other produces a stronger, more dynamic force. Confluences create opportunities for synergy. The editors of this year’s inaugural school newsletter have chosen the name Confluences to reflect the interdisciplinary collaborations made possible by the merger of our disciplines.   Over the past two years, the History and Philosophy Departments have joined together to form a stronger and more dynamic unit: the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion (SHPR).   

Read our latest newsletter in PDF or iBook format by clicking the links below:

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Long Live the King

Louis XIV, who saw himself as the new Alexander the Great, adopted the lion as one of his symbols. Although he didn’t wear a lion skin on his head like Alexander, real and imaginary lions surrounded him.

Lionhead gargoyle, Miletus, 2nd century, Pergamon Museum

Lionhead gargoyle, Miletus, 2nd century, Pergamon Museum

Anita Guerrini presents some wonderful examples of royal lion symbology found at the Pergamon and Neues Museums in Berlin.   You can read the full post here.


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