March 13 - April 16, 2018 - Artistic Expression through Conflict: The Use of Art in World War II Exhibit
“Artistic Expression through Conflict: The Use of Art in World War II” focuses on the many artistic methods individuals used to tackle the circumstances of war. Contributors to this exhibit experienced the war on all fronts and likewise used all forms of art to document those experiences. Unlike letters and photographs, this art was not subject to the same censorship. These forms of art are significant then as they illustrate the complex and authentic emotions of the individual. While this exhibit is open to the general public, it will especially attract those interested in art and history.
This conference brought together scholars of Austrian and American history along with others who have an interest in evaluating and utilizing letters from the past as sources. Representatives of the Austrian Migrant Letter Collection project, sponsored by the University of Salzburg, discussed some of their findings. Representatives from the History Department and World War II Institute at Florida State University provided insights from their collections. The organizers welcomed other scholars with expertise in epistolary critique as well as those interested in Austrian migration more broadly. After the conference, the group plans to publish a selection of papers in a special edition of the Journal of Austrian-American History.
Ronit Y. Stahl is a historian of modern America. Her book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America, was just published by Harvard University Press and she has published commentaries and op-eds in venues including the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Religion & Politics. She is a fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and previously held a postdoctoral position at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. This talk explores how the Four Chaplains came to symbolize a particular form of mid-century religious pluralism --- what a postage stamp deemed "Interfaith in Action"--- and how that legacy has evolved in the military and American society writ large.