On Tuesday 11 November Dr David McQueen will be giving a very special Talk BU Live entitled “How should we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War?”.
David will be discussing how the conflict has been represented, or misrepresented, by the media and popular culture, and how that has been used politically. He will be challenging our enduring ideas around the Great War and will be asking how we can best remember the fallen.
Talk BU Live is a free monthly on-campus event designed to get people talking, thinking and shouting. Talks are no more than 20 minutes long and open to all students and staff at BU.
Join us in Dylan’s Bar at 5:30pm for what will surely be an interesting and moving talk. Don't forget you can also join the debate by tweeting @bournemouthuni #TalkBU.
About the talk
The commemoration of the centenary of the First World War took on a politically contentious edge at the beginning of the year as Michael Gove attacked the ‘'Blackadder myths’ about the First World War spread by television sitcoms and left-wing academics’. Gove’s controversial opinion piece in the Daily Mail argued that the First World War was ‘plainly a just war’ and argued that historians were reassessing some ‘prevailing myths’ about Generals such as Douglas Haig and the enduring notion of ‘lions led by donkeys’. For Gove the representations of the war perpetuated by some historians and in the media were designed to ‘belittle Britain and its leaders’.
Gove’s article came two days after, and in direct response to, an essay by Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, calling for a commemoration that celebrates the peace in Europe and respects those who died in the war by ‘doing all we can to create a world of peace and goodwill, a world that one day will turn its back on war for good’. This short talk explores the political fissures that opened around the centenary of the Great War, in particular around the representation of military leaders. It traces the origin of the metaphor of generals as ‘donkeys’ through histories and popular cultural representations of the war. It concludes by considering ways in which we might most respectfully remember the dead of the 1914-18 war in the context of more recent military engagements.
To find out more about Talk BU and Talk BU Live contact the team at [email protected].
Please note that this event will be video recorded and made available online.