Birmingham Public Library To Host Two Veterans Day Programs

Special to the Times

Birmingham Public Library (Photo, Cody Owens)

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Archives Department is hosting two 2017 Veterans Day programs focused on different aspects of World War I. Both talks will take place in the 4th Floor Arrington Auditorium at the Linn-Henley Research Building, 2100 Park Place in downtown Birmingham.

The first, “World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East,” featuring Dr. Annalise J. K. DeVries of Samford University, will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. The second will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, and is titled “Hearing a Different Drummer: William March’s Novel COMPANY K,” featuring Dr. Bert Hitchcock of Auburn University.

Sunday, Nov. 12
Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place
Arrington Auditorium, 3 p.m.
“World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East”
Dr. Annalise J. K. DeVries, Samford University

World War I transformed the region we know today as the Middle East, expanding some empires while others crumbled, creating new borders, and forging new political identities. Dr. DeVries will examine accounts from Maadi-Tura, an Egyptian prisoner of war camp, to explain how the war experience created new points of conflict, particularly as the Ottoman Empire fell and the British and French looked to assert authority over the region.

DeVries is an assistant professor of History at Samford University. She previously taught at the University of Alabama and Birmingham-Southern College. Her professional interests include global and comparative history, imperialism, modern Egypt, the modern Middle East, and women’s and gender history. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation research, which looks at Cairo, Egypt’s cosmopolitan society in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Linn-Henley Research Library. (Photo, Mark Goebel, Flickr Commons)

Tuesday, Nov. 14
Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place
Arrington Auditorium, 6 p.m.
“Hearing a Different Drummer: William March’s Novel COMPANY K”
Dr. Bert Hitchcock, Auburn University

Hitchcock’s talk will focus on the book “COMPANY K” by Alabama native William March, a decorated Marine combat veteran. Courageously different in his outlook and strikingly innovative in technique, March has never received the full recognition he deserves. In its portrayal of the horrors and atrocities of war, “COMPANY K” is considered among the best war fiction novels ever written.

Hitchcock retired from Auburn University in 2008 as the Hargis Professor of American Literature. An Auburn graduate, he holds degrees from the University of Oregon and Duke University, and also attended the University of Melbourne in Australia. He held several positions at Auburn from 1966 until his retirement in 2008, including assistant director of admissions, chairman of Freshman English, and department head from 1977 to 1990.

Hitchcock’s specialty is 19th Century American Literature and Southern Literature. His contributions to journals include the “American Short Stories” anthologies he edited for decades. He also wrote entries and essays on American writers for a number of established reference books, including “the Dictionary of Literary Biography,” “Reference Guide to American Literature, and “Contemporary Fiction Writers of the South.”

Hitchcock’s books include “De Remnant Truth,” “Down the River,” “The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi,” and “Chinaberries and Crows.” In 2008, Dr. Hitchcock’s former students helped establish the Bert Hitchcock Award in Southern Studies.