Intellectual Rationale

This institute conceptualizes both WWI and the arts in a broader and more intricate frame than is the norm for both scholarly and popular perceptions. Together, we will study the history of the Great War from transregional perspectives -- European, Asian, African, and American -- to move towards understanding why we call it a "world" war. The institute will challenge us to conceive of new ways to analyze and narrate WWI as a hinge point between old and new world orders as land-based empires fell, colonial empires cracked, and new nation-states were conceived in wartime and then built around the traumatized human survivors of WWI. We define arts not only as literature, performing arts, soundscapes, texts, and visuals, but also as healing arts, to understand how the wounded body and mind were treated by professionals and laypersons struggling to reintegrate disabled solders and traumatized civilians into their societies and polities.

We bridge scholarly and community engagement with the memory projects of the war, benefiting from town-gown efforts that have been in the planning stages since the summer of 2012, sparked in large part by the decision of the Cincinnati Opera to produce "Silent Night", based on the Christmas Truce of 1914, as the centerpiece of its season in 2014. Critically acclaimed and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2012, the opera is a significant cultural event that itself comprises a source to understand the construction of memories of war. Our participants' time will be greatly enriched by engagements with artists, musicians, actors, curators, and public spaces. Institute participants will be able to take our array of activities back to their home institutions and communities as a model for fostering learning and discussion of the war and the arts.

Welcome Letter
Readings and Viewings
How to Apply