UMBC Humanities Forum — Webb Lecture
"The Changing Face of Modern War: Chemical Weapons and Civilian Bodies in the Aftermath of WWI"
Susan R. Grayzel, Professor of History, Utah State University
Wednesday, October 18, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Lethal chemical warfare entered the modern era in 1915. Though denounced as horrific, all sides participating in the war utilized chemical arms, and in 1939, the British government was testing gas masks on Indian civilian women. Nor was it alone in developing mechanisms to protect individual, non-combatants in places far removed from so-called frontlines. As states planned for another conflict at the end of the 1930s, they prepared for civilians to receive individual gas masks. In this talk, Susan R. Grayzel will explore the complex legacy of World War One through a focus on the development of civil defense, especially the gas mask, designed to protect every man, woman, and child from the terrifying new weapons that this war unleashed.
Susan R. Grayzel is a Professor of Modern European History and the author of several books, including Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War, which won the British Council Book Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies in 2000. She is working on the forthcoming book, The Age of the Gas Mask: Chemical Weapons and Civilians Bodies in Imperial Britain, 1915–1945. Her current research focuses on the origins of civil defense and its impact on ideas about gender, citizenship, and the wartime state.
Admission is free.
Sponsored by UMBC's Department of History and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.