Webb Lecture: The Changing Face of Modern War:
Chemical Weapons and Civilian Bodies in the Aftermath of WWI
Lethal chemical warfare entered the modern era in 1915. Denounced as horrific, nonetheless all sides participating in the war utilized chemical arms. Yet in 1939, the British government was testing gas masks on Indian civilian women. In this talk, Susan R. Grayzel will explore the complex legacy of World War I through a focus on the development of civil defense, especially the gas mask, designed to protect every man, woman, and child from the terrible new weapons that this war unleashed.
Bio: 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.
Sponsored by the History Department and the Dresher Center for the Humanities