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The University of Alabama

Historian Mary Louise Roberts to Present Lecture at UA About the Corpse

Mary Louise Roberts

Mary Louise Roberts

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Mary Louise Roberts, an internationally recognized historian and distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will present “Five Ways to Read a Corpse” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11,  in room 38 of Lloyd Hall on The University of Alabama campus. The lecture, which is sponsored by the department of history, is free and open to the public.

Although historians have largely averted their eyes to the history of the dead body, Roberts digs in—looking at how officers, grave diggers, civilians, infantrymen and grieving families all viewed corpses during World War II.

Roberts is an expert on the history of modern France and renowned for her work on the histories of gender and war. She has published two internationally acclaimed books on World War II. “D-Day through French Eyes: Memoirs of Normandy 1944” mines the diaries of French civilians who saw the war daily. “What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France” won the Gilbert Chinard Prize and the George Louis Beer Prize for the best book in international history. In 2015, the book was adapted as the French film “Le Repos des Guerriers” (“The Rest of the Warriors”).

Roberts has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and several National Endowment for the Humanities awards. She also served as a senior fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and was recognized at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University for her outstanding contributions as a distinguished teacher.

In addition to her academic accolades, Roberts has been interviewed on National Public Radio, “CBS This Morning” and by The New York Times.

The department of history is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.


The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.