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July 28, 2014

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UVic experts on WWI centenary

It is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. The following UVic experts are available to comment on the centenary, as well as specific aspects of the war:

Jim Kempling (History), a retired infantry colonel and current PhD candidate at UVic, is project director for A City Goes to War, a UVic digital humanities project which showcases remnants of very personal experiences of Victoria residents during the First World War (earlier info). He can comment on the centennial of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry on Aug. 10, as well as on the thousands of Chinese Labour Corps workers who came through BC on their way to help dig trenches in Europe. (Cell: 250-658-8546 or email at jimk@uvic.ca)

Annalee Lepp (Women’s Studies), chair of UVic’s women’s studies department, is available to comment in general on what life was like for women during the war. (By email: alepp@uvic.ca)

Matt Pollard (Germanic & Slavic Studies) teaches German language and film. He can comment on the early 20th-century reception and image of Friedrich Nietzsche in England and the US, the war as a clash of ideas between "Kultur" and civilization, as well as German Expressionist artists' representations of war. (Office: 250-721-6328 or email at matthewp@uvic.ca)

Stephen Ross (English) teaches narrative fictions of the First World War, including works by English, French and German authors. He specializes in how writers tried to account for the unspeakable, what that meant for their psyches and how their experiences shaped an entire century’s outlook on masculinity, domesticity, aesthetics and violence. He is also director of the Modernist Versions Project. (Office: 250-721-7237 or email at saross@uvic.ca)

Chandar Sundaram (Continuing Studies) is a scholar of the colonial and modern military history of India and can comment on the experiences of Indian soldiers (sepoys) on the Western Front. He points out that, “after the Komagata Maru affair, it’s doubtful Indian immigrants in BC would have been favourably disposed to fighting for a nation bent on excluding them. In turn, it would have been unlikely that recruiters, who wanted to keep their war ‘white,’ would have tried to enlist recent immigrants from India.” (Home: 250-385-8010)

Lara Wilson (Libraries) is the university archivist and director of UVic Special Collections. She can provide research assistance regarding military primary sources, including UVic’s Canadian Military Oral History collection, which is the largest in Canada. (Office: 250-472-4480 or email at ljwilson@uvic.ca)

Two other well-known experts in this field of study are currently away from campus: John Lutz (History), who studies Aboriginal-settler relations in the Pacific Northwest and has played a lead role in digitization projects related to this period; David Zimmerman (History), a military historian and expert on the Royal Canadian Navy.

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