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Thayer Lecture speaker to discuss WWI’s influence on women

Susan R. Grayzel

Susan R. Grayzel

Randolph College’s annual Philip Thayer Memorial Lecture will examine the importance of World War I in shaping history as well as its influence and effect on the lives of women.

Susan R. Grayzel will present the lecture, “Did Women Have a Great War?” on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Wimberly Recital Hall (Presser Hall). The author of multiple books and essays about women and World War I, Grayzel is a history professor and the director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Randolph history professor Gerry Sherayko has used Grayzel’s book, Women in the First World War, in his Women in the Two World Wars class for several years. This semester, his students will get to meet the author in person when Grayzel visits the class and has lunch with history students prior to the lecture.

“She’s a major scholar and we’re very fortunate that she’s coming here,” Sherayko said. “I’m glad that our students, both in a classroom setting and at lunchtime, will get a chance to talk with her and ask her questions.”

Sherayko said Grayzel’s presentation provides a different perspective about World War I from the 2015 Thayer Lecture. During last year’s lecture, Chapman University professor Jennifer Keene discussed men’s combat experiences during the war.

“The First World War was one of the most pivotal and important events in world history,” Sherayko said. “There were so many changes in geography, politics, and international relations as a result of the war, but it also brought about a shift in the roles of women. Part of what happened in the wake of World War I was that we saw women gain the right to vote in many European countries and beyond.”

The Thayer Lecture, named for a respected retired Randolph history professor, brings a scholar to Randolph College each year to lecture in the liberal arts. The event is made possible by the Philip Thayer Memorial Lecture Fund.

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