San Jose State University will host the 2018 Charles Burdick Memorial Military History Symposium on April 15, from 1 to 7 p.m. with an expert panel, a film and a music concert.
Panel: SJSU Engineering Auditorium (ENG 189) 1:00 to 4:00
Moderator: Dr. Jonathan Roth, Professor of History and Director, Burdick Military History Project.
Dr. Karen English of San Jose State University will speak on American Poetry in the Great War. The most famous poem of World War One “In Flanders Fields” was written by a Canadian about a British battle, but there were many American poems written in support of, and against the war, by men and women, officers and enlisted. Educated in North Carolina and raised in a military family, Dr. English has taught American Literature and American Studies at San José State University since 1989. Her academic field is American Literature before 1865, but she saw the film Gallipoli in 1981 and has since been passionately interested in literature written during and about WWI, esp. American poetry, but also fiction, autobiography, and drama.
Professor Kimberly Schafer of San Francisco’s Academy of Arts University will present Otto Dix: Combat Veteran and Avant Garde Painter. Otto Dix was already a painter when at age 23, he volunteered for the German Army and served continually from 1914 to 1918. Dix fought in the Battle of the Somme, on the Eastern Fronter, and took part in Germany’s final Spring Offensive in the West. He earned an Iron Cross (2nd Class) and left the army as the equivalent of a Staff Sergeant (Vizefeldwebel). After the war, Dix became a leading painter a critical observer of Weimar and the Great War. Prof. Schafer holds two graduate degrees from Oxford Brookes University (formerly Oxford Polytechnic), and has been with the Academy of Art University since 1996. Her graduate thesis focused on the twentieth-century British artist Stanley Spencer (another World War One veteran).
Dr. English will introduce the 1918 film Shoulder Arms, which Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed and starred in. We meet his famous character in boot camp, and the 46-minute movie takes us with him to the Western Front. The film was hugely popular and was used in bond drives. Although almost 100 years old, the movie still resonates with today’s veterans.
Concert: SJSU Concert Hall (Music 176)
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CA) James Lamb and the 11-member California State Military Reserve Band present From Ragtime to Jazz: The Music of James Reese Europe, bringing to life the fascinating tale of Jim Europe, a leading figure in the transition from ragtime to jazz. Travelling from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the battlefields of World War I France, the presentation combines narrative, images, video, and live music to chart the story of this groundbreaking African-American musician and soldier. The band uses historically accurate compositions and scores as played by Jim Europe’s ensembles and instruments common to the period to accurately reproduce the music as it sounded 100 years ago. The California State Military Reserve Band is made up of members of the CSMR or CalGuard, a volunteer organization that backs up the California National Guard, as well as Guard and Reserve musicians.
To reserve free concert tickets please go to:
For further information, including regarding accessibility and accommodation, please contact Dr. Jonathan Roth