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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 02 

Free lecture exploring World War I-era plastic surgery rescheduled for April 22

April 15, 2015

Editor's note: This presentation has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. April 22 in 3100 Torgersen Hall. The original Feb. 18 performance was postponed because of winter weather.

Lecture explores World War I-era plastic surgery and the modern beauty revolution

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 13, 2015 – David Lubin, author and Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, will present “Behind the Mask: World War I, Plastic Surgery, and the Modern Beauty Revolution” at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in 3100 Torgersen Hall. 

The talk is free and open to the public.

Lubin’s talk deals with soldiers in World War I who suffered facial wounds from sniper fire and shrapnel. In previous wars, many would have died, but advances in medical care allowed them to live. However, when the war ended they returned home with disfigured faces.

He will discuss plastic surgeons who attempted to restore the soldiers’ faces, sculptors who fashioned prosthetic masks, antiwar activists who used the wounded to shock the public, and entrepreneurs who capitalized on a postwar cult of physical beauty that arose in reaction to wartime ugliness.

The talk, arranged by the Material Culture and Public Humanities master's degree program, is made possible by the Commonwealth Humanities Endowment Week fund in the Department of Religion and Culture, as well as the Department of History and the School of Performing Arts and Cinema in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

David Lubin received his doctorate in American studies from Yale University. He is the author of “Act of Portrayal,” “Picturing a Nation,” “Titanic,” and “Shooting Kennedy,” which was awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Eldredge Prize for distinguished scholarship in American art. His forthcoming books are “Flags and Faces: The Visual Culture of America’s First World War” and “Grand Illusions: WWI and American Art.”

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