Friday, September 20, 2013, 4 - 6 pm

UNC-Chapel HillInstitute for the Arts & HumanitiesHyde Hall

Erica Kuhlman (Idaho State University)

Transnational Cultures of Mourning:
War Widows and Fallen Soldiers in World War I

How nation-states laid claims on the bodies of soldiers and their wives during World War I is the theme of this lecture. It will analyze the experiences of war widows and their husbands comparatively to untangle the complex relationships between these two core wartime-figures and the nation-state. War widows could imagine the horrors of trench warfare as well as the sorrow of widows from other warring nations. As a result they participated not only in gendered mourning rituals endorsed by the state, but also created transnational cultures of mourning that challenged the nation-state’s right to the bodies of their husbands, to their own bodies, and the right to wage war in general.

Erica Kuhlman is Professor of History and director of women studies at Idaho State University. Her research focuses on comparative and transnational histories of World War I. Her books include Reconstructing Patriarchy after the Great War: Women, Gender, and Postwar Reconciliation between Nations (2008) and Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War (2012).

Department of Women's and Gender Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill
Duke-UNC Gender, War and Culture Series

Co-sponsored by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies