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Leading off the World War I Centenary Project that will span the 2014-2015 academic year, historian Michael Geyer will deliver the 2014 Mary Stevens Reckford Memorial Lecture in European Studies on February 20 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The talk will be the 20th annual Reckford Lecture presented by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Geyer, the Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History at the University of Chicago, will give the free public talk, entitled “Age of Destruction: World War I—One Hundred Years Later” at 7:30 pm in Gerrard Hall. A Q&A session, reception and book signing will follow the lecture.

This year’s Reckford Lecture kicks off the World War I Centenary Project, a campus-wide conversation spanning the 2014-2015 academic year that will be sponsored by the Institute and the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with King’s College London. In his talk, Geyer will examine how World War I inaugurated an age of “total war” and transformed imperial Europe into the continent of interdependent nation-states we recognize today.

In conjunction with the lecture, the Duke-UNC “Gender, War and Culture” Series will host a workshop entitled “Gender, War and Empire in a Global Perspective.” This workshop will take place on February 20 from 1:30-5:00 pm in the Hyde Hall University Room, and is also free and open to the public.

Geyer’s writing and research focus on twentieth-century German and European history. He is the faculty director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. His publications in English include the edited volumes Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared (with Sheila Fitzpatrick, 2008) and The Power of Intellectuals in Contemporary Germany (2001). He is the author, with Konrad H. Jarausch, of Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories (2002), and also publishes extensively in German.

The annual Reckford Lecture in European Studies is designed to appeal to a broad public by introducing a general audience to the study of modern and historical Europe through a humanistic lens. UNC classics professor emeritus Kenneth J. Reckford established the lecture in 1990 to honor his late wife, Mary Stevens Reckford, and speakers are asked to provide “pleasure, instruction, an interdisciplinary approach and a sense of shared humanity.”

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