Upcoming #KU lecture on Russia and #WWI

The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is proud to present Military Historian Professor Bruce W. Menning for a CREES brownbag lecture on “Russia and the Outbreak of the Great War.”

Professor Menning is the well known author and editor of:
Bayonets Before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army, 1861-1914
Reforming the Tsar’s Army: Military Innovation in Imperial
Russia from Peter the Great to the Revolution
World War Zero: The Russo-Japanese War in Global Context

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, September 9th at 12pm in 318 Bailey Hall on the University of Kansas campus. The event is free and open to the public.

BB_Great War Flier (2)

#KU_WWI Sentiments: the Good, the Bad & the Retweeted

When it comes to using social media to explore historical topics, one is never quite sure how it’s going to turn out. The crowd sourcing aspect of Twitter is by nature unpredictable — and once it’s out on the internet, it’s out there for good.

It was just a few months ago that #KU_WWI staff sat down to talk about these issues. Our anxieties ranged from, “What if the technology doesn’t work?” to “What if we incite an international incident by inadvertently offending an eastern european country?” But our biggest concerns were, “Would anyone take notice?” and “Would they find it informative and useful?”

Rather than guess, we thought we’d just go ahead and ask.

Over the past few months we’ve been collecting your feedback into what we like to call, #Sentiments: The Good, The Bad & The Retweeted — thoughts and opinions from the twitterverse. And in this blog post, we thought we’d share a summary.

Read the complete archive of #KU_WWI Sentiments on Storify.

Almost from the beginning, the project had a faithful following who helped spread the word.

Your promotion caught the eye of local media and resulted in our first press coverage.

By the end of the project, we were featured on Kansas Public Radio’s KPR Presents, Channel6 News, and had been the subject of 18 online and print articles including in the Associated Press and The Washington Post.

The project reached a global audience who tweeted about #KU_WWI in multiple languages — Spanish, French, Bosnian, Serbian, Chinese, Russian and Czech.

As the LIVE Tweetenactment unfolded, quite a few of you stayed with us and watched as history happened as if LIVE on twitter.

That said, not everyone enjoyed the LIVE Tweetenactment. Negative feedback ranged from dubious to overtly offended by the project concept.

And a few good samaritans helped with grammar tips.

Some of your comments after the LIVE Tweetenactment were particularly poignant and insightful.

And by and large, your response to the #KU_WWI Twitter Project was overwhelmingly positive.

Preliminary reports indicate that the #KU_WWI Twitter Project had 456 contributors, generated 4,600 tweets, reached 623,900 unique twitter accounts, and created 3.4 million impressions throughout the entire twitterverse.

Thank you to everyone who made this project such a success!

The #KU_WWI Twitter Project is a collaboration among the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, European Studies Program, the departments of Germanic Languages & Literatures, History and Slavic Languages & Literatures, University Honors Program, Global Awareness Program, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Libraries, KU Memorial Unions and Spencer Museum of Art. This project is also sponsored by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.

The University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is designated a Title VI National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the U.S. Department of Education.

This project is part of the University of Kansas centennial commemoration of World War I, coordinated by the European Studies Program. Learn more about participating units and upcoming programs at KUWWI.com.

Introducing the #KU_WWI Twitter Project


The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) announces a new educational outreach initiative utilizing KU students, resources, and social media to explore history related to World War I. The #KU_WWI Twitter Project is a Twitter-based e-reenactment of the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the historical incident often cited as the initial geopolitical event that resulted in the First World War.

KU history student, Sam Moore (BA ’13), has been hired by the KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) to serve as the #KU_WWI Twitter Project Leader.  Working closely with CREES Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Landry, Sam has developed a “#KU_WWI Guide” for understanding the historical event and the overall project.  The guide, along with supplemental imagery, web resources, and maps, will be used at two “Call for Tweeters” (April 9th and April 30th, see flyer for more details).

The Call for Tweeter events will be forums where KU students, faculty and staff can learn more about WWI and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and have an opportunity to become Twitter e-reenactors. They will use the “#KU_WWI Guide” to develop e-reenactment characters, twitter handles and hashtags, and 140-character tweets reenacting the assassination.

Tweets created by students, faculty and staff at the Call for Tweeter events will be selected by project staff to form a Master Script, which will tweet-out live on June 28, 2014, exactly 100 years after the event. The public will be able to follow along on the @KU_WWI Twitter site, through the hashtag #KU_WWI, or through Twitter feeds on the crees.ku.edu and european.ku.edu websites.

Project goals

Through this type of compelling storytelling and the interactive nature of Twitter, the project will: connect faculty and students on the KU campus with ideas, places, and history from across time and generations; engage students in discussions about this humanities theme and topic; integrate classroom learning with a campus-wide extracurricular activity; promote world languages and literatures taught at KU; offer multiple points of view for the general public to consider; and strengthen a sense of community for the KU WWI Centennial Commemoration 2014-18.

Integrating Classroom Learning

Slavic Languages and Literatures Instructor Marta Pirnat-Greenberg has dedicated a week of her class, BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian, to translating select tweets from the project’s Master Script.  By incorporating the project into her curriculum, BCRS 208 students will use their language skills, develop translation techniques, and learn about an historical event that affected the culture of the language they are studying. These translations will be incorporated into the overall Master Script.

While BCRS 208 is vital to the project (the event took place in Bosnia and the language of many of the main characters was Serbo-Croatian), other languages will be utilized as well.  Tweets will be translated into German, Russian, Czech, French, and many others – showcasing the many languages taught at KU.

Copies of the anti-WWI satirical novel, The Good Soldier Švejk will be on-hand at the Call for Tweeters. This work will be heavily referenced throughout the e-reenactment, adding a strong literary perspective. Copies of the work will be available in the original Czech as well as German, Russian, and English.  By using this novel to add a literary perspective to the e-reenactment, participants will enhance their world literature knowledge as well as engage their foreign language skills.

Interested in participating?

The first #KU_WWI Call for Tweeters will be on April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union (6th floor).  The second will be held on April 30 at 7 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union (4th floor).  KU students, faculty, staff and members of the local community are welcome to participate in one or both of these events. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops. Snacks and door prizes will be available for participants.

Have questions?

Email #KU_WWI Project Leader Sam Moore (KUWWI@ku.edu)

Project Sponsors
Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center
European Studies Program
Germanic Languages & Literatures Department
History Department
Slavic Languages & Literatures Department
University Honors Program

Center for Global & International Studies
Global Awareness Program
Hall Center for the Humanities
KU Libraries
KU Memorial Unions
Spencer Museum of Art

Historian Sean McMeekin to visit KU

Historian Sean McMeekin to visit KU campus on January 28, 2014.

Historian Sean McMeekin to visit KU campus on January 28, 2014.

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin will visit the KU campus to speak about his book, July 1914: Countdown to War. McMeekin will give a Brownbag Lecture at the KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (12-1pm, 318 Bailey Hall) and a Book Talk at the Lied Center Pavilion (Lied Center, 7:30pm).  Both events are free and open to the public.

When a Serbian-backed assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914, the world seemed unmoved. Even Ferdinand’s own uncle, Franz Josef I, was notably ambivalent about the death of the Hapsburg heir, saying simply, “It is God’s will.” Certainly, there was nothing to suggest that the episode would lead to conflict—much less a world war of such massive and horrific proportions that it would fundamentally reshape the course of human events.

As McMeekin reveals in July 1914, World War I might have been avoided entirely had it not been for a small group of statesmen who, in the month after the assassination, plotted to use Ferdinand’s murder as the trigger for a long-awaited showdown in Europe. The primary culprits, moreover, have long escaped blame. While most accounts of the war’s outbreak place the bulk of responsibility on German and Austro-Hungarian militarism,

McMeekin’s book, July 1914: Countdown to War, draws on surprising new evidence from archives across Europe to show that the worst offenders were actually to be found in Russia and France, whose belligerence and duplicity ensured that war was inevitable.

This event is part of University of Campus wide commemoration of the World War I Centennial, 2014-2018.  The author’s visit is sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities and co-sponsored by the KU European Studies Program, Germanic Languages and Literatures Department, and the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.