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Hundreds of military scholars to attend FSU-hosted national conference in Jacksonville

Kurt Piehler, director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at FSU.
Kurt Piehler, director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at FSU.

Florida State University’s Institute on World War II and the Human Experience and the Department of History will host the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History (SMH) from Thursday, March 30, through Sunday, April 2, in Jacksonville, Fla. 

The conference, “Global War: Historical Perspectives,” will be held on the eve of the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I. The event will offer a forum for the presentation of original research on the study of war and society from the ancient world to contemporary conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

The conference, which requires advance registration, will take place from Thursday, March 30, through Sunday, April 2, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 225 East Coastline Drive, Jacksonville, Fla.

The program committee, chaired by John Curatola of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, selected both panel and single paper proposals from a pool of 160 applicants for this year’s program.

“Like its predecessors, this conference will have an international presence,” SMH President Jennifer Keene said. “Scholars from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Italy, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States will be in attendance.”

FSU alumnus and keynote speaker Gen. Jay Garner, former director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq, will address the challenges that today’s forces face.

As a way to promote the inclusion of military history in K-12 curriculum, FSU is dedicating Saturday, April 1, as Teachers’ Day to address the challenges of teaching military history. This session will be led by guest speaker David Silbey of Cornell University.

Along with the main portion of the conference, Florida State will host free public events such as a pre-conference lecture with FSU’s Rafe Blaufarb, director of the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution. Other free events include a public book signing with the 2017 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award Winners Michael Livingston and Kelly DeVries, editors of “The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook,”and a discussion on the premiere of the PBS three-part docu-series “The Great War” with Stephen Ives and moderator Michael Neiberg. 

The Society for Military History, founded in 1933, strives to advance the study of military history and stimulate interest in the subject. The annual meetings of the SMH serve to expose members and non-members to the latest research in military history. 

The mission and focus of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience is collecting and preserving the memories of men and women during the World War II era and the immediate post-war period (i.e., 1939-1949). Florida State’s institute is one of the nation’s largest private repositories on World War II, housing more than 6,000 collections. 

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