Exploring the 'Great War'

2014 marks the anniversary of the 'Great War', and the Department is pleased to offer a range of courses in History, History of Art, Literature and Archaeology for those who wish to explore one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century through study.

The First World War in Perspective
Online short course
Offered each term from January 2014
The First World War is widely regarded as the defining event of the twentieth century, and continues to fascinate and appal in equal measure. This course seeks to explain why and how the war was fought, and to understand why its legacy remains relevant almost a century after it began.

English Poetry of the First World War
Online short course
Offered each term from Janurary 2014
Some of the most powerful and moving English poetry of the modern period was written during or about the First World War. This course examines the context of that poetry and issues involved in studying it by exploring the life and writing of three major war poets: Owen, Rosenberg and Sassoon, amongst others.

Investigating First World War Archaeological and Architectural Legacies
Archaeology, Architectural History
Dayschool: Wed 5 Feb 2014 in Oxford
Archaeological techniques are increasingly being applied to study of First World War battlefields in France and the Near East, and on training areas in England. The aim of this course is to inform curators, field practitioners, consultants, and members of voluntary and community groups of the diverse physical legacy that the war has left in England.

Modernisms: The Art of Extremes 1914 1945
History of Art
Weekly classes programme
Thu 24 Apr to Thu 26 Jun 2014 in Oxford
The period 1914-45 is the high test of artistic modernism as the forces ranged against it coalesce and the term itself is reforged; never again will the debates about the public role of art assume such critical importance - or prove so vitally engaging.

Picturing Armageddon: The First World War in Painting, Photography and Cinema
History of Art
Weekly Classes programme
Tue 22 Apr to Tue 24 Jun 2014 in Oxford
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. This course will investigate the many ways in which the experience of the 'War to end all wars' has been reflected through art, photography and film. We shall explore the early development of war photography, and will examine the work of the official 'War Artists'. We shall then investigate the depiction of the war in the popular illustrated press, before turning to the many and varied ways in which cinema has dealt with the memory of the First World War - from such early Hollywood classics as 'All Quiet on the Western Front' to more recent cinematic epics as 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Finally we shall conclude by discussing what we shall have learned of the relationships between fact and fiction in the various ways in which the First World War was, and has subsequently been, imagined and depicted.

The Art of War
Weekly Classes
Thu 24 Apr to Thu 26 Jun 2014 in Oxford
From the first crude caveman etchings to the the imagery of 'Top Gun' aviators, warlike images have beguiled the human race. Artefacts, paintings, scultures, buildings and weapons themselves have reflected the significance of the warrior across centuries and diverse cultures. We will examine and analyse these phenomena by looking at the Art of War in its broadest sense and concentrating on Western civilisation.

Poetry of the First World War
Oxford Experience Summer School
Sun 13 to Sat 19 Jul 2014 in Oxford
A hundred years ago the civilised world was torn apart by one of the bloodiest wars in human history the First World War. Young men in their thousands went to their deaths on the battlefields. The war was a catastrophe both on a personal and on a cultural level; it was a watershed in European civilisation. Paradoxically, it elicited a great creative burst of poetry as many of the combatants tried to come to terms with, and make some sense out of, their experience of carnage and loss.

The First World War in Perspective
Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA)
Sat 12 to Sat 19 Jul 2014 in Oxford
The First World War continues to fascinate and appal in equal measure. Popular publications and media outputs often highlight the carnage in the trenches on the Western Front and raise questions about the war's ultimate purpose.

1914-2014: One Hundred Years of War
Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA)
Sat 19 to Sat 26 Jul 2014 in Oxford
This is the centenary of the beginning of the Great War, the writing about which entered our collective consciousness. Since the achievements of the Great War poets, conflicts have continued to cause people to write about their personal experiences in startling and memorable ways, whether they are combatants themselves or the families and lovers left behind. We shall explore writing about the world wars, Vietnam, 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan, in poetry, fiction and memoirs.

British Art of the First World War
History of Art
Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA)
Sat 26 Jul to Sat 2 Aug 2014 in Oxford
In the centenary of the beginning of the "Great War", our course examines the production of magnificent art from such luminaries as Paul Nash, Richard Nevinson and William Orpen. Despite many dangers and difficulties, our artists created images of "terrible beauty" from scenes of conflict and desolation. We examine the compelling works of many less prominent painters such as Eric Kennington and Muirhead Bone, and conclude with the huge canvases commissioned for the never-realised Halls of Remembrance. A visit to Stanley Spencer's magnificent Sandham Memorial Chapel is incorporated within the course.

Stanley Spencer and Art in Britain, 1908-1959
History of Art
Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA)
Sat 2 to Sat 9 Aug 2014 in Oxford
Investigating the work of Stanley Spencer within the context of contemporary art in Britain, this course follows Spencer's career from his earliest training at the Slade through to his late work at Port Glasgow. It is difficult not to be fascinated by Spencer's very personal approach to his subjects - but how can we relate his work to the wider artistic and social developments happening around him? We will measure his individual perspective against the work of his contemporaries and his audiences as we plot the trajectories his life and career.

Published 14 January 2014