Yale University Historian to Deliver Fiddick Lecture on Second Great War, 1917-1923

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2018

Jay Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, will be the speaker for the University of Evansville’s 17th annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture on Friday, October 26. The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. in Eykamp Hall in Ridgway University Center. The event, hosted by UE’s Department of History, is free and open to the public.

Winter’s lecture marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War. His topic will be “The Second Great War, 1917-1923.”

The Fiddick Memorial Lecture is named for Thomas C. Fiddick, a professor of history at UE from 1963 to 2002. A dedicated teacher, productive scholar, and a tireless fighter in the cause of justice, his untimely death on the day of his retirement stunned the UE community. It was his former students’ efforts, with support of Fiddick’s friends and the University, that led to the establishment of the annual Thomas C. Fiddick Memorial Lecture.

“The Fiddick Lecture is one of the best events of the year, as we celebrate the career of a truly outstanding University of Evansville faculty member,” said James MacLeod, UE professor of history and director of the Fiddick Memorial Lecture Series. “Tom Fiddick was a brilliant scholar and an incredible teacher who made a life-transforming impact on generations of students.”

During Winter’s lecture, he will argue that a crisis in 1917 separates the first three years of the war from the years that followed, largely the result of powerful economic and demographic pressures which destabilized all the combatants, but more so the Central powers than the Allies. The critical event of this rupture was the 1917 Russian revolution. Hatred, hunger, and class conflict were radicalizing elements in the post-Imperial world. Winter suggests that the passage from wartime crisis to post-war and post-imperial violence was seamless, and part of one complex, distinctive phase of European history, starting in 1917 and ending more or less in 1923.

Fiddick’s book, Russia's Retreat from Poland, 1920: From Permanent Revolution to Peaceful Coexistence, deals with one of the conflicts to be discussed during Winter’s lecture.

Winter is one of the world’s leading scholars of World War I and its impact on the 20th century. He was educated at Columbia University and the University of Cambridge. In 2001 he joined the faculty of Yale. Winter is the author or co-author of 25 books, including Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History; The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century; Rene Cassin and the Rights of Man, and most recently, War beyond Words: Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present. In addition, he has edited or co-edited 30 books and contributed 130 book chapters to edited volumes.

Winter was also co-producer, co-writer, and chief historian for the PBS/BBC series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997.

MacLeod noted that Winter “is as distinguished a scholar on World War I as there is anywhere in the world. It is an enormous privilege to bring him to the University of Evansville to deliver the 2018 Fiddick Lecture and interact with students in class,”

MacLeod added that on the 100th anniversary of “what we think of as the end of the First World War, it is important to reflect on the significant ways in which that war did not really end in 1918. Some conflicts that emerged between 1917 and 1923 we are still dealing with today. It is especially appropriate given Tom Fiddick’s lifelong passion for many of the issues discussed by Jay Winter, and the fact that one of Tom’s most important scholarly legacies is a book that deals with this very subject.”

For more information, please contact the Department of History at 812-488-2963.

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