Professor Jay Winter (Charles J Stille Professor of History, Yale University) will give a series of three public lectures and a concluding symposium on Imagining War in the 20th Century and After.
The lectures explore mediating languages and symbolic forms which writers, artists, and filmmakers have used to represent war since 1900. This attention to language in cultural history is at the core of this interpretation. What we know of war is always mediated knowledge and feeling. The event itself, what Walt Whitman called the red thing, the actual killing, is beyond us. We need lenses to filter out some of its blinding, terrifying light in order to see it at all. The lectures want to draw attention to these lenses as the elements which make understanding war possible at the same time as they limit what we see.
The second lecture addresses painting and sculpture in an effort to show that figuring war has the capacity to reduce and at times to leap over some of these language barriers. Putting a face on war has a history, and it has been one primarily of progressive effacement since 1900.
The Humanitas Chair in War Studies has been made possible by the generous support of Sir Ronald Grierson
The Humanitas Visiting Professorship in War Studies aims to debate issues within this cross-disciplinary field in a historical perspective, especially in light of the policies and military tactics of modern and contemporary warfare. Political, social, psychological and cultural theories of war will be explored through discussions between academics - from history, politics and international studies, English and other disciplines - and real practitioners from the armed services and government.
Previous Humanitas Visiting Professors in War Studies
2010-11: Hew Strachan (Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford)
Christopher Clark (History)
Andrew Gamble (POLIS)
Brendan Simms (POLIS)