The British Library (BL), located near Euston in central London, in order to commemorate the end of the First World War and the signing of the Armistice, has announced a series of talks and events based on the theme of ‘1918: A New World?’
The end of the War and signing of the Armistice saw a rocky transition from war to peace, a process that was both exhilarating and frightening. Nationalism, anti-colonialism and the collapse of Empires all presented new challenges for leaders and peoples across Europe and the world.
At the same time, new forms of music became embedded in post-war culture, greater awareness of civil rights began to emerge, and women made some real progress with suffrage and rights in countries such as Britain. However, historians are now beginning to recognise how the rapid spread of Spanish Influenza exerted a truly devastating impact across nations in many parts of the globe at this time.
The exciting BL programme explores these and other topics, and includes the following events:
On Friday, 26th October, there will be an all-day event entitled ‘Revisiting the Black Parisian Moment: 1918-19’, sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the BL. Attendees will be able to explore the connections between Black intellectual thought, military presence, and Jazz cultures at the critical juncture of Paris in the immediate post-1918 period. The day will also culminate in the evening with a performance from composer and musician Jason Moran, who will be reflecting on the practice of writing and performing forgotten Black histories through Jazz.
On Saturday, 27th October, the BL will have a study day entitled ‘1918: A New Europe on Film’, which will bring together experts on Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Baltic and Nordic regions to discuss how 1918 and the foundation of numerous new nations has been interpreted in a century of feature films, documentaries and archive footage.
On Thursday, 1st November, Patricia Fara will give an illustrated lecture entitled ‘A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War’, which will be inspired by her fascinating book A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War. She will commemorate the anniversaries of the Armistice and women’s suffrage by revealing the untold lives of female scientists, doctors and engineers who helped to win the War.
On Friday, 2nd November, the novelist and science journalist Laura Spinney, in a lecture entitled ‘The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World’, will explain how the Spanish flu catastrophe was arguably as significant as the War in shaping the post-1918 world. Did you know that the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic led to an estimated 100 million deaths, more than both the World Wars combined?
For further details of these and various other BL events this autumn, you can go to:
The BL is located in Euston Road, within easy reach of King’s Cross and Euston train stations.
Dr. Steven Woodbridge is Senior Lecturer in History in the History Dept. at Kingston University
(Images: Wikimedia Commons)