Fanfare's ‘Then and Now’ Lecture Series to focus on Louisiana and World War II

Thursday, September 14, 2017
by: Tonya Lowentritt

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s “Then and Now” Fanfare History and Politics Lecture Series officially kicks off Oct. 4. This year’s free lectures are part of a year-long lecture series on Louisiana and its role in World War II.
     The lecture series is sponsored by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of History and Political Science and the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
     First up is a lecture by James Linn, curator of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. “The Pelican State Goes to War – Louisiana during World War II: The Special Exhibit at the National World War II Museum 2017-18,” will be presented Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. on Southeastern’s campus in Pottle Auditorium.
     “When America entered World War II, Louisiana was already front and center in the country’s defense preparations and consistently ‘punched above its weight’ between 1940 and 1945,” said History and Political Science Department Head William Robison. “The war effort triggered massive and lasting changes in the state and nation. Hear all about it from the curator of a new exhibit celebrating the Pelican State’s contribution to the Allied victory.”
     The second lecture will be presented by Southeastern HIPS faculty member Keith Finley on Oct. 11. “Local World War II Veterans Tell Their Stories: The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies Interviews” is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Pottle Auditorium.
     “World War II veterans often were reluctant to talk about their experiences when they first returned home. But approaching old age, many began to tell their stories for posterity,” Robison said. “Dozens came forward to do so at Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies. Assistant Director Finley will describe that process and recount some of the best anecdotes the center collected.”
     On Oct. 18, HIPS faculty member Charles Elliot will present “Don’t You Know There’s a War On? Sustainability, Self-Sufficiency, and American Simplicity in World War II.” Scheduled for 1 p.m., the lecture will take place in Pottle Auditorium.
     “World War II is the ultimate example of total war. While Americans on the battlefront faced the greatest danger and often paid the ultimate price for their patriotism, all citizens sacrificed for the war effort,” Robison said. “Charles Elliott will explore national, public, and private initiatives enhancing virtuous austerity as a strategic mandate in the fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.”
     A lecture from Languages and Communication faculty member Joseph Burns -- “Blowing Eight to the Bar: American Music During World War II” -- will be presented on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 1 p.m. in Pottle Auditorium.
     “Music played a major wartime role. Troops got ‘V-Discs’ with patriotic songs, and today’s events became tomorrow’s hits,” said Robison. “But soldiers returned to a different musical landscape in 1945, as big bands gave way to small groups led by pop singers, instrument factories retooled to manufacture weapons, and musicians went on strike. And Hitler hated jazz. Come to this lecture and find out why.”
     Rounding out the series is the “More-or-Less Annual Halloween Lecture” by Robison on Oct. 31. At 1 p.m. in Pottle Auditorium Robison will present “Martin Luther, Halloween, and the Sexy Witches of World War II: Uncovering Unlikely Links between the Reformation and Modern History.”
     “October 31 is not only Halloween, but also the 500th anniversary of German monk Martin Luther publishing his ’95 Theses’ and beginning the Protestant Reformation, an event with long-term significance for World War II and even Louisiana history,” Robison said. “Where do the sexy witches fit in? That is a mystery you can only solve by coming to the lecture. Candy will be thrown as usual.”
     For more details about the 2017 Then and Now Lecture Series, contact the Department of History and Political Science at 985-549-2109.

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