Lecture: "The European Civil War 1914-1945: Culture and Violence" with Enzo Traverso
Fri, April 18, 2014 • 4:00 PM • Harry Ransom Center, Prothro Theater
Nineteen fourteen marked the beginning of a new Thirty Years’ War in Europe. The meaning of modernity changed: it no longer designated material and human progress but industrial killing and anonymous mass death. Between 1914 and 1945, “hot,” extreme, passionate and uncontrolled violence merged with the “cold” and rationally planned violence of modernity, carried on by technological and industrial means. Both literature and visual arts mirrored this peculiar disruptive tension. Distinguished scholar and Cornell University professor Enzo Traverso reassesses the concept of “European civil war,” discussing its virtues and limits, its uses and abuses. Sponsored by the Center for European Studies/European Union Center of Excellence, the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Houston, the Department of History, the Institute for Historical Studies, the France-UT Institute, the Harry Ransom Center, and, above all, the French Embassy in Washington DC.
Enzo Traverso received his M.A. from the University of Genoa, Italy (1982), and his Ph.D. from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1989). He specializes in contemporary Europe, focusing on intellectual history and the political ideas of the first half of the twentieth century, in a comparative and transnational perspective. Before coming to Cornell, he has been a professor of political science at the University Jules Verne of Picardy, France, and a member of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He has been visiting professor at several European as well as Latin American Universities. His publications, all translated in different languages, include more than ten authored and other edited books. Several of his works investigate the impact of political and mass violence on the European culture. He is currently preparing a book on the representations of the Jewish intellectual in Germany, France and Italy at the turn of the XXth Century.