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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Faculty of Arts

Understanding War and Memory

Oct 4/11

This coming Spring and Summer the History Department will be offering an exciting fourth-year reading and research seminars on “War and Memory” thanks especially to the efforts of retired History professor Terry Copp, current Director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. Last Fall professor Copp successfully applied to the university’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) for permanent funding to support the delivery of these seminars on a continual basis.

This year the seminars will be taught by Dr. Len Friesen, Russian historian in the Department of History.   The course will be taught at the Waterloo campus of WLU, and on site in Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow).  It explores two of the most intriguing and controversial topics in modern history: war and memory.

The course will challenge students to engage with a wide range of texts –both fiction and non-fiction – photographs, literature, art, vast cityscapes, memorials and a host of other sources.  In the process, they will better understand the complex and dynamic manner in which the experience of war generates memory as well as history. While we will be especially concerned with examining with events that stretch from The Great War (World War I) to the Great Patriotic War (the Soviet designation for World War II) and the onset of the Cold War, the course will also consider how the historical development of urban space in both Moscow and St. Petersburg reflects a centuries-long engagement with war and memory, including the Mongol (13th century) and Napoleonic (1812) invasions and above all the Petrine creation of a modern military state in the early eighteenth century. 

Students do not require a background in Russian history to complete this course successfully. 

This is a unique seminar and field-trip study course. Students and the lead instructors will meet in May to begin to explore key course themes. The majority of the assignments will be tied directly to the trip to Russia in early June and the opportunity it will give students directly to investigate St. Petersburg and Moscow.   This will truly be the chance of a lifetime for those fortunate enough to participate in it.

The Department of History will shortly release information on the application process for HI411.  In the meantime, students are welcome to contact Dr. Friesen with any questions.

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