Tech history professor presents work at Paris meeting
A Louisiana Tech associate professor of history was one of more than 30 scholars from 14 countries who presented research at the International Colloquium on the Great War in the Illustrated Press. Dr. Laurie S. Stoff was invited to meet with other researchers in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first World War in 1914. Sponsored by the Center for Communications and Information Science at the University of Paris’s north campus, the event focused on the representation of the conflict in graphic images published in contemporary newspapers and magazines. Stoff appeared on a panel devoted to images of women. Her presentation, “’’When Men are at the Front—this is Your Place, Women’: Images of Russian Nurses in World War I,” discussed on the various ways women were used to inspire pro-war propaganda. “I focused on the multiple ways that these women were featured in the journals and magazines of the war period: as symbols of the nation, as strong and active heroines of the war effort, as victims of enemy brutality – all of these as means to inspire greater participation in the war,” Stoff said, “as well as more negative ways they were imagined: as sexually dissolute, as personally ambitious, as shirking real responsibility and merely donning the nursing uniform for the prestige associated with it, within the context of criticism of prosecution of the war.” Stoff said she attended many other presentations at the event, including ones that discussed images in the pre-war press through post-war constructions of wartime memory. “I learned a great deal about the ways that the war was presented in the illustrated media of other countries — France, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States,” she said. A member of the Tech faculty since 2006, Stoff completed her undergraduate studies at George Washington University and received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history at the University of Kansas. A specialist in Russian, Eastern European and women’s history, she is the author of “They Fought for the Motherland: Russia’s Women Soldiers in World War I and the Revolution” (2006), which was an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Her current research project on women in Russian medical services during the conflict is funded in part by an Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents.