FYS-167 The Pity of War

Instructor: Provost Christopher Zappe
Department: Provost's Office

Course Description:
The First World War was one of the greatest upheavals in history, involving an estimated 70 million combatants -- 9 million of whom lost their lives – and setting off shock waves that have been felt worldwide for nearly a century. In fact, the civilizational impact of an industrialized conflict on this scale was so significant that the First World War set the 20th century on a violent trajectory, culminating in a perfected total war which commenced in 1939. In this seminar we examine the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians, including both men and women, whose lives were shattered by the continuous series of brutal surprises and shocks that the First World War brought forth. In particular, we engage a number of diverse disciplinary perspectives to understand fully how total war, including the dynamic role played by technological developments, impacted soldiers and their care-givers along the Western Front. Readings includes memoirs, works of fiction, poetry, as well as scholarly articles and book chapters. Students enrolled in this seminar should be prepared to engage vigorously in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking.