St. Louis Rising: Authors Tell New Story about Old City

stlrisingcoverThe Webster community will be the first to get their hands on St. Louis Rising: The French Regime of St. Ange de Bellerive – a new book by historians Carl J. Ekberg and Sharon Person – next month, courtesy of Le Centre Francophone. To commemorate the book’s launch, Ekberg and Person will participate in a panel discussion about the founding of St. Louis on Monday, April 14 in Webster University’s East Academic Building at 4:30pm. They will be joined the Consul Général of France, Vincent Floréani, who will provide opening remarks.

St. Louis Rising: The French Regime of Louis St. Ange de Bellerive sheds new light on the founding of St. Louis. The popular narrative of the city’s early days focuses on the efforts of French fur-traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau to create a settlement out of the wilderness. But Ekberg, a retired professor of history, and Person, an ESL instructor, have culled another story from their examination of new source documents. In Ekberg’s words, St. Louis “was not founded by two greenhorns from New Orleans, Laclède and Chouteau, but rather by scores of Illinois-Country residents — men, women, slaves, and children — who moved across the Mississippi during the early 1760s to find better lives for themselves in a new settlement.”

Director of Le Centre Francophone and Webster’s Jane and Bruce Robert Endowed Professor of French Lionel Cuillé believes St. Louis Rising has the potential to spark “a fascinating debate for everyone who is interested in the founding of St. Louis.”

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Kemper Award Winners Reflect on Teaching

The William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded each year to two full-time and two part-time faculty members at Webster University who demonstrate teaching at its finest. Nominated and supported by students and colleagues, they are selected by a committee of their peers for their outstanding teaching. College of Arts & Sciences professors Karla Armbruster (Department of English) and Kate Parsons (Department of Philosophy) each received the Kemper Award for 2014-15.

At the Kemper Luncheon on March 20, Armbruster and Parsons offered President Stroble, Dean Wilson, and other members of the Webster community reflections on their role as educators.

“I was moved,” Dean Wilson said afterward, “and deeply proud.”

Our award-winners’ remarks are below.

Karla Armbruster, Professor of English 

armbrusterWhen I started teaching twenty-seven years ago, like most graduate students in English, I began with freshman composition.  Composition is a skills-based class in which students learn by doing, and so my students and I analyzed examples of the types of papers they were supposed to write, workshopped their drafts, and discussed simple, specific strategies such as countering your audience’s potential objections in a persuasive essay.  There was really no place for lectures or tests.  So when I started teaching literature classes, it made me a little uncomfortable to see students taking notes as I was talking.  I had to restrain myself from saying “No, no — You need to figure things out for yourself if you want to really learn anything!” Looking back, I’m more sure than ever that I was right.  To the degree that I’ve been successful as a teacher, I owe that success to the ways I’ve found to motivate and enable my students to take responsibility for their own learn

ing — even in courses where I am very much an expert on the content.

Today, I thought I would share a few of the strategies that have helped me do this.

One thing I learned, long before the era of assessment began, was that it’s crucial to be up-front about your expectations with students.  After encountering one too many first-year students accustomed to being told what to think and mistrustful of a teacher who asked them questions instead, I realized that I could eliminate a great deal of potential misunderstanding by spending a day or two at the beginning of class on a discussion of pedagogy and the ideal roles for teachers and students.  It turns out that students actually prefer being asked to think for themselves, once they understand that’s an option, and by making this discussion part of the class, we start the semester with the students not only understanding the approach we’ll be taking but actively embracing it.

I also came to see the value of being comfortable with a little chaos.  In a true discussion, topics and suggestions come up that you’re not prepared for, and you need to be able to let go of all your careful plans in order to pursue the powerful questions and ideas that will emerge, if you’re lucky.  Every few years, I teach Toni Morrison’s masterpiece, Beloved, and when we get to one of the most important chapters, narrated in stream-of-consciousness by three different characters, I always have the class read it out loud by going around the room and having each student read a line.  Hearing the beautiful

, poetic language coming from different voices is deeply moving and profoundly different than reading the words silently to oneself, and I owe this idea to a former student who suggested it the first time I taught the class.

I have also learned to balance being realistic about what students will do with granting them some freedom.  In my Introduction to Literary Analysis seminar, I discovered the hard way that a lot of beginning English majors won’t use a reading journal regularly, even when required to do so, so I turned the journal prompts into daily homework sheets.  On the other hand, I am flexible about electronics in the classroom, simply making clear that they can be used only for class-related tasks, and I find that students often use them to engage with class material, looking things up to contribute to discussions. For example, my American literature students were discussing a poem that uses saxifrage, a flower that splits rocks, as a metaphor for poetry, and I wanted them to visualize the contrast between the delicate flower and the hard, sturdy rock.  The word picture I was painting for them ran into trouble, though, when I realized I didn’t know what color saxifrage is. But within seconds, three or four students had photos of the flower on their phones and were showing the rest of the class.  It’s white, if you were wondering.

Perhaps most importantly, I have learned that you have to take seriously the notion that students not only have something to contribute, but also something to teach you, the teacher, despite whatever expertise you bring to the field. My job is to make sure my students learn.  If I learn something from them in the process, it may seem like that’s just a bonus — a perk of the job. But when that magic moment occurs — as it did twice in my eleven o’clock class today —, and a student comes up with a truly amazing, unanticipated insight, it’s also a sign that my students are truly engaged and have taken intellectual ownership of their experience in the class. Because I get to keep learning from my students, I find that teaching is in many ways its own reward. Nevertheless, it was a tremendous honor to receive the Kemper award and join the distinguished company of the other award winners.  It’s also a wonderful affirmation that the intuition I had so many years ago — that my students should not just be writing down what I said — was on the right track.

Kate Parsons, Professor of Philosophy


Mr. Kemper, Mr. Leadbeater, Ms. Joyner, and Ms. Hoelzer, thank you so much for your ongoing support of this most prestigious and coveted award at Webster.  I, and likely all of the faculty members in this room, feel deeply honored and humbled to be recognized, simply for getting to do a job that I love and care so much about.

I teach Philosophy, a discipline with which I have a complicated relationship.   At its heart is a mode of living and approaching the world about which I am passionate.  Philosophy requires that we take nothing for granted, that we confront even the scariest and most confounding questions about life and death, and that we gain comfort with questions—sometimes more comfort with questions than with answers.   It requires a kind of courage that I don’t always possess, but that I believe in deeply—one that I try to instill and inspire in my students.

And yet its institutionalization in a university setting sometimes swaps this courage for more conservative canonical thinking, ironically privileging safe, familiar, careful arguments over bold but fringe voices and experiences.  This tendency unsettles me and sometimes situates me on its margins, particularly in terms of my gender and my class background. The fact that the field is mostly populated by men, white people, and folks from the middle to upper classes (and that it suffers from lack of diversity more than any other field in the humanities) spurs me to ask:  whose lives, whose experiences, and questions are considered to be central to philosophy, and whose are on the margins.

In thinking about what it means to be a recipient of this prestigious award, and what it means to teach philosophy well, it dawned on me that similar questions might be appropriately aimed at my own conception of teaching.  In an effort to remain mindful of the potential trappings of my privileges as a full-time faculty member—I ask myself not merely who is recognized but also who isn’t typically recognized by an award such as this—and I would like to offer gratitude and recognition to just a few folks who whose work might also be relegated to the fringes, and yet is nevertheless critical to my teaching and to my students’ learning.

I am indebted, for instance, to: the Counseling Center staff, who help students get to my classes, despite depression, abuse, loss of family members, and a whole host of other challenges; to the Academic Resource Center staff, whose work serves as a reminder that my way of learning is not the only one, and that students learn and access resources in myriad ways; to Adjunct Faculty members, who spend immeasurable time with our students and devote themselves to the welfare of our departments, without job security, a living wage, or insurance; to the Groundskeeping and Janitorial staff, who, whether through snow removal or dust removal, work earlier and later than most of us (often under backbreaking conditions) and keep me and my students safe.  I am indebted to our Department Associates, who serve as primary contact and sounding board for our students’ daily needs and whose organizational and multi-tasking skills put mine to shame; and finally to IT folks, who connect me with my students within seconds and make it possible for me to answer midnight emails .  (Acutally, I’m not really sure I should thank you for this; I probably got more sleep before you were doing such a good job.)

These are just a few of many unnamed members of the university community who play a critical role in fostering a transformative learning experience for our students.  In accepting this award I am deeply honored to be publicly named as just one of them, and also humbled by the realization that I have not earned this alone.  For all of this, and to the Kemper foundation, I offer my sincere thanks.

A&S Senior Wins Scholarship to Israeli-American Public Affairs Conference

cultural connections biggerEach month, Global Thinking will feature a “Cultural Connections” guest post written and curated by a member of the Department of International Languages and Cultures (ILC). This month’s post profiles German major Chandler Waite.



Chandler Waite, a senior International Relations and German double major here at Webster, recently received a scholarship to attend a large international conference in Washington DC. This scholarship was earned through UCLA’s branch of the Jewish Awareness Movement (JAM). JAM is a large Jewish student organization in Southern California that choose only 25 students to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference, of which Chandler was one. AIPAC is the largest lobbying group in the United States, supporting pro-Israeli and Israeli American collaboration. In attendance at the conference was the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of the Czech Republic, the US National Security Advisor, and the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Chandler was excited to apply for this scholarship as it aligned with both his academic and personal interests.  Chandler is the founder and president of the Tribe Jewish Student Council and an active member of the Student Government Association at Webster University.  In addition, he is pursuing an International Relations Major with a focus on Israel. He learned of this opportunity from his friend at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and applied for a scholarship to attend this conference for leaders in the Jewish Learning Experience. He applied and went through the interview process from the JAM organization located in West Hollywood. JAM had already filled the positions for the trip, however they were so impressed by Chandler’s resume, application, and interview that he was contacted regardless. He was one of the only non-Californian student to receive a spot on the trip. With the scholarships from JAM and JLE, Chandler only had to pay $50 out of pocket for the entire week-long trip which included the flight, hotel, and conference entrance fee.3

Being an International Relations major whose main focus is on Israel and the Levant, Chandler was extremely enthused about the trip. This conference gives insight into this year’s foreign policy objectives for both the United States and Israel. Through the AIPAC conference, he was able to meet all of the major Jewish community leaders of the Eastern Seaboard in Baltimore, and he met Californian senator Charles Schumer. As his goal is to work in American-Israeli foreign policy, the conference was beneficial as a catalyst for networking in this area. He is still in contact with the leaders with whom he connected on the trip. Meeting those leaders has widened his perspective on issues in the Middle East — especially that of global superpowers’ influence on it. During the conference, Chandler was able to converse with one of the writers from The New York Times and discuss the Middle East and Russia’s Involvement. The Jewish community leaders of the Eastern Seaboard were Orthodox Jews, so being able to meet with them and receive their viewpoints was a valuable learning experience for him, as although he is Jewish, he is not an Orthodox Jew.

1The AIPAC conference on American-Israeli foreign policy is only one of Chandler’s many international experiences. Chandler has gained international awareness as a foreign language and culture student and as a study abroad alum. He has done hybrid courses in Cuba and Berlin and studied abroad for a semester each in Vienna and Thailand. However, these are still just a few of his many international involvements. His interest and curiosity in both languages and politics are pronounced in the classroom. Webster University professor of German Dr. Paula Hanssen said that she did not find it surprising that he was a recipient of the JAM and JLE scholarships, as he is contagiously enthusiastic.  She says that Chandler “is constantly finding new ways to express himself, both in native language and in the languages he studies.” She is thrilled to have such a wonderfully engaged student here at Webster University.

Webster to Host Undergraduate Research Across Disciplines Conference in 2015

Students peruse research performed by their peers at Webster's 2014 Taking the Lead conference

Students peruse research performed by their peers at Webster’s 2014 Taking the Lead conference

For the last weekend in April, Webster University’s East Academic Building will be overtaken with student research presentations in biology, chemistry, and physics.

And sociology. Oh, and English. And philosophy and education, too.

rad_evite_graphicIt’s the inaugural weekend of Research Across Disciplines (RAD) — a conference showcasing research performed by undergraduate students across the region in a variety of academic fields. Born of a conference developed by a group of 5 local institutions (Fontbonne, Maryville, Missouri Baptist, Lindenwood, and Webster) that initially focused on student research in the sciences, RAD 2015 expands that initial conference’s scope by offering presentation opportunities to students who do research outside the sciences as well.

Students will present their work through posters, oral presentations, and roundtable discussions, gaining valuable experience as emerging contributors to their field.

Dr. Danielle MacCartney, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Division of Liberal Arts Programs, says that conducting and presenting research is recognized as a “high impact student practice,” meaning it’s widely considered one of the most valuable endeavors supporting student learning at the university level.

“The research process gives students the ability to grapple with challenges, to recognize a problem, and persevere through to a solution,” MacCartney explains. “It also gives students experiential understanding of the way knowledge is constructed and disseminated. And ultimately, tackling big projects can increase students’ self-confidence and provide them with more readiness to engage in future research.”


Opening up the conference to research from a variety of disciplines is an exciting development which, MacCartney believes, reflects the College’s spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to programs ranging from anthropology to exercise science to creative writing, and many of those programs overlap with disciplines in other Schools and Colleges at Webster, such as the recently-launched MS in Science Management and Leadership/MBA; collaboration is an integral part of the College’s mission.

“We also think it’s beneficial for students to get exposed to research in other disciplines,” MacCartney adds, “because real-world problems are almost always interdisciplinary.”

When students go on to tackle — and find solutions to — those real-world problems, experience in conducting and presenting original research can come in handy. It can teach students to ask big questions and pursue answers. From an employer’s perspective, MacCartney says, those skills are key: they show the ability to solve problems in a labor market.

The community is welcome to attend the conference April 24-25, 2015 at the Webster Groves campus to see this problem-solving in action, and students are encouraged to submit their work. The online submission period ends March 18, 2015. Students only need to submit an abstract and answer a few questions about their research to apply, and they can indicate for which presentation formats they would like their research to be considered.

For more information about the event, visit

Biology Graduate Making Waves


Taylor at his desk at Coastal Carolina University, where he’s earning his graduate degree

Jon-Erik Taylor may study one of nature’s slower sea-dwellers, but this Webster graduate’s career as a marine biologist is moving full-speed-ahead. Taylor, currently pursuing a master’s degree in Marine Systems Science at Coastal Carolina University, researches the relationship between soil density and resistance to fungal pathogens among sea turtle nests for his Master’s thesis. Thanks to a recent $25,000 grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, he now also works collaboratively with the Consortium on a rip current awareness project meant to make beaches safer.

The grant funds Taylor’s and the Consortium’s efforts to educate the public about the hazards of rip currents. As part of their efforts, they meet with science, law, and industry professionals to communicate the potentially life-saving benefits of properly informed beach communities.

“The award means a lot to me for several reasons,” Taylor said. “It provides me with the means to better provide for my family, it validates me being here [in graduate school], and it gives me the opportunity to work on a project that I feel has a significant impact on lives of beach-goers the world over.”

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Big Passion. Big Conflict. Big Wedding: Global Leaders in Residence to Lead Post-Show Discussion after Conservatory’s “Big Love”

Photo by Eric Woolsey

Photo by Eric Woolsey

Join the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University for its production of Charles Mee’s Big Love. A contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant WomenBig Love follows the story of fifty young women seeking refuge in Italy in their escape from unwanted marriages. When their prospective husbands arrive, the battle between men and women, between love and power, between heart and mind reaches epic proportions.

Big Love is presented February 18-22 and February 25-March 2 in the Emerson Studio Theatre at Webster University. Performances are at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm. For tickets ($12/adults, $6/seniors, students, and Webster alumni, free/Webster students, faculty, and staff) call 314-968-7128. This production of Big Love features brief nudity and graphic violence. It is intended for adult audiences.

Please join us also for a special post-show discussion following the February 27 performance, featuring Cuban theatre artists Flora Lauten and Raquel Carrio and members of the Big Love cast. Founders of the award-winning Teatro Buendia in Cuba, Lauten and Carrio will reflect on their own process of adapting classic texts for the contemporary stage. Lauten and Carrio join us from Cuba as Webster University’s College of Arts & Sciences 2015 Global Leaders in Residence.

For more information about Webster’s production of Big Love, watch our trailer or visit For more information about the Global Leaders in Residence, visit

Global MA Spotlight: Claire Mosby

Claire in Croatia

Claire on her visit to Croatia during the 2014 Fall Break.

Each term, the College of Arts & Sciences highlights one of its Global MA students from the International Relations or International Nongovernmental Organizations programs.

Claire Mosby is part of the first Global MA in IR cohort to study in Havana, Cuba as part of their year abroad. We snagged a few moments to talk to Claire as she prepares to swap the Gulf of Thailand for the Gulf of Mexico.

What is your current city, and what’s your next stop?

Currently in Bangkok, Thailand. Next stop is Havana, Cuba.

Why did you choose Webster’s Global MA program?

I chose this program because I loved my study abroad experiences in undergrad and being able to complete my MA while studying in different regions of the world seemed like a valuable track for a program in International Relations.

Claire with some of her students in Thailand

Claire with some of her students in Thailand

Describe a memorable cultural experience that you’ve had after almost three terms in the program.

There have been so many memorable cultural experiences. In London we went to a QPR football game; it was such a contrast to sporting events in the States. Everybody was so focused on the match, not eating or drinking or talking. Those fans were impressive. Another great experience for me has been traveling to the Northern Province [in Thailand] where I previously lived and taught primary school. I was able to spend a few days with my former Thai students and friends and pal around my beloved village. I’ll get to go up there again before I leave Thailand. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world with some of my favorite people and I love that I’m doing a graduate program that allows me to visit them!

What are some challenges that you have faced when trying to adapt to new cultures?

There’s always an element of “culture shock” when travelling and living abroad but I think some of the toughest challenges are the small things, not the screamingly obvious differences (like fried cricket snacks in food carts). Last term we were in Vienna. Most of the city was closed on Sundays — campus, shops, grocery stores, etc. At home, being able to access everything at all hours and days of the week makes even such a small thing difficult to get used to. It slows you down a little, which isn’t always a bad thing!

From left: Global students Sarah Laycock, Leon Forrest, Will Tobin, and Claire Mosby at Stonehenge

From left: Global students Sarah Laycock, Leon Forrest, Will Tobin, and Claire Mosby at Stonehenge

Academically speaking, what is the most enlightening part of the program?

The diversity of students in our classes is unique because we get broad spectrum of perspectives and ideas. As we move to each new campus we’re in class with students from different parts of the world [which] makes learning about International Relations more, well, international. We’ve for the most part had classes with around ten people in them that makes discussions more dynamic and our interactions with each other and the professors more meaningful and enlightening.

What are your plans for the future after you complete the GMAIR program?

I am interested in human rights, particularly human trafficking. I’ve been doing research and writing about this topic along the way in the program and I hope to work with the efforts of anti-trafficking in persons. I’m not sure where that will take me. Through professional seminars I’ve been able to see some organizations that work on that issue; a couple weeks ago here in Bangkok we visited the International Labor Organization’s regional office. So my plans are up in the air, but I have plenty of ideas and have gotten some useful exposure throughout the program.

Claire (left) with fellow Global student Sarah Laycock on a side-trip to Prague

Claire (left) with fellow Global student Sarah Laycock on a side-trip to Prague

What aspect of Cuba do you think will be the most exciting?

Everything about studying in Cuba seems like it will be exciting as we’re preparing to go there. People I know who have traveled there have wonderful things to say and I’m looking forward to getting there myself! It’s such a special opportunity to study in Cuba. I personally hope to explore the island and see as much as possible. We’ll have courses about US/Cuban Relations and Latin American Studies, so we’re in a great environment to learn those subjects. What I’m most looking forward to though is having the chance to form a better understanding of real Cuban life, aside from pure politics.

The Global MA program is still accepting applications to join our 2015-16 cohorts. For more information, visit, or contact Sarah Nandor at

Interview by Gracie Gralike.

Culture Connections: Magalí Finds Her Passion for Language Education at Webster

cultural connections bigger

Each month, Global Thinking will feature a “Cultural Connections” guest post written and curated by a member of the Department of International Languages and Cultures (ILC). This month’s post profiles Spanish language Teaching Assistant Magalí (Magui) López Cortez.

Magali on a visit to New York City

Magali on a visit to New York City

Magalí (Magui) López Cortez is the Spanish language teaching assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences. Originally from Buenos Aires, she grew up in San Rafael, Mendoza then moved to Mendoza City almost 6 years ago to attend university. As the Spanish teaching assistant, she teaches Spanish Elementary II and Intermediate I levels, as well as two workshops, in one of which the class reads and analyzes a novel. The two things Magalí loves most about St. Louis is its people and the arch. She says that everyone she has met has been very kind and helpful. The arch was love at first sight, and she feels that it is a perfect frame for the beautiful Mississippi River in the front and the city behind it. She also finds its history extremely engaging.

Magalí is part of a long-standing partnership between Webster and the Universidad de Cuyo in Argentina. She feels proud to be a part of this tradition and does her best to represent both her university and her country. It is a great exchange opportunity that she hopes continues, as it has enriched her enormously. This is an opportunity for which she is thankful to both Webster University and the Universidad de Cuyo.

Magali (left), Mika (center), and Nas (right) on the way to their first American Thanksgiving.

Magali (left), Mika (center), and Nas (right) on the way to their first American Thanksgiving.

Her experience here, both in the United States and at Webster, has been an adventure, and it is too hard for her to choose only one favorite memory.  But she says the faculty and staff are comfortable and supportive. Teaching has been the best, as she can take everything she learns here back to Argentina where she wishes to become a teacher. She says her students here are wonderful and show a great deal of interest in learning not only the Spanish language, but also the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. A definite plus is that she was able to travel to a couple different cities and participate in American traditions such as going to baseball and football games, tailgating, and spending Thanksgiving with an American family. All of this she has been able to share with the other TAs, building a nice multicultural family.


Magali on her 2014 trip to the Grand Canyon.

Magalí is looking forward to bringing back her experience in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at Webster to her home university. In the classroom, she has found a real passion for being an educator, in addition to learning about being a foreign language teacher. She is currently doing research on a dreaded part of grammar—the subjunctive.  She is writing a paper for her Argentine program, hoping to turn this “scary and hated” grammar concept into a friendlier part of speech. She feels that teaching your own language to non-native speakers gives you a better insight into it and of the difficulties that it poses. For Magalí, who loves linguistics, being a TA is an interesting and enriching experience.  As the educational systems between Argentina and the United States are different in many ways, too, she feels she is learning all the time. It has only been half of a year and Magalí has already learned so much and she cannot wait to finish the spring semester.

From left: 2015 TAs Magali, Nas, Mika, and Aori

From left: 2015 TAs Magali, Nas, Mika, and Aori

Summer Study Abroad in Athens, Greece

The view from Webster's site in Athens, Greece.

The view of the Acropolis from Webster’s site in Athens, Greece.

2510: Philosophic Classics: Ancient Greece and Rome
Summer Session 2 (June 29 – July 24, 2015), M-Th, 1:00 – 3:00pm
Athens, Greece

Spend this summer getting back to where it all began: Athens, Greece – one of the world’s oldest cities, the birthplace of democracy, and the philosophical hub that gave us the founders of Western Philosophy. PHIL 2510: Philosophic Classics will take you to Athens for a four-week exploration of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle on a campus nestled right below the Acropolis. Dr. David Carl Wilson will lead students in examining the intellectual context of these thinkers and the key themes in their work, with special attention to their ethical and political teachings. Outside the classroom, you and your fellow students will have opportunities to visit the historic sites that mattered most to these philosophers.

Airfare is available for eligible students taking 6 or more credits during the summer term in Athens! Webster University recommends pairing PHIL 2510: Philosophic Classics with PHIL 2080/RELG3050: Greek Mythology and Religion or ANTH 2100/ARHS 4600/SOCI3000: Greek Art and Architecture to take full advantage of your immersive study abroad experience in Greece.

For more information, visit or contact the Office of Study Abroad:
Toll Free: 800-984-6857
Main: 314-968-6988


Centre Francophone Film and Live Music Event Features World-Renowned Composer


Director Léon Poirier used actual soldiers who survived the Battle of Verdun to film Verdun, Visions of History.

Because of the political, social, economic and cultural impact it generated worldwide, the First World War is a singular event in the history of mankind. With 4.4 million soldiers mobilized and a financial contribution of 500 billion today, the United States played a major role in the Great War and the victory of the Triple Entente. The long French-American friendship was strengthened by this conflict.

Since September 2014, as part of the worldwide commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago, in partnership with Midwest US partner institutions, is organizing a series of events aimed at raising general public awareness about the key issues of the First World War.

In that framework, the Cultural Service at the Consulate of France in Chicago has partnered with local institutions to present the Midwest tour of the ciné-concert Verdun, Visions of History  February 14-19, 2015. Presented with live piano accompaniment by internationally acclaimed French composer and pianist Hakim Bentchouala-Golobitch, who plays the original score by André Petiot, Verdun, Visions of History (1927) was directed by pioneering director and WWI veteran Léon Poirier (French, 1884–1968) about one of the most devastating battles of World War I—the Battle of Verdun in 1916. The tour comes to Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium on February 15 at 7:00pm courtesy of Le Centre Francophone.

The Midwest tour was made possible thanks to a grant from the Institut français and the Mission du Centenaire 1914-1918 in Paris in partnership with the Cinémathèque de Toulouse and the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.

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