CfP: Aftermath: German and Austrian cultural responses to the end of the First World War (1918-1933)

The international workshop ‘Aftermath: German and Austrian cultural responses to the end of the First World War’ will be held at King’s College London on 13-15 September 2018.

The end of World War I marked the beginning of a period of political turbulence and social upheaval in both Germany and Austria. Contrary to popular belief, the conflict did not end overnight with the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918; instead, a lengthy series of peace negotiations took place, concluding with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. These negotiations and treaties resulted in considerable losses for both Germany and Austria: national boundaries were redrawn and colonial territories removed, reparations were imposed, and Germany and her allies were compelled to accept full blame for the conflict. In their early years, the Weimar Republic and the First Austrian Republic were buffeted by revolts and uprisings from both right and left, as different political groups sought to assert their competing visions of post-war society.

In spite of these turbulent events, the years after World War I saw the development of a flourishing cultural scene. As major centres of European modernism, Germany and Austria became associated with writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers who engaged in radical formal experimentation and rejected conventional values and aesthetic norms. Yet the post-war period also saw the resurgence and reinvention of more traditional modes of representation through movements such as Neue Sachlichkeit [new objectivity] and the ‘return to order’. Recent scholarship has highlighted the falsity of the traditional dichotomy of the ‘progressive’ and the ‘anti-modern’, showing how the co-existence of plural and seemingly contradictory cultural practices reflected specifically modern anxieties about language, culture and politics. However, questions still remain about the impact of war and defeat on post-war cultural production: in what ways did ‘the double wound of war and defeat fester beneath the […] surface’ [Anton Kaes] of interwar culture? And to what extent did the need to come to terms with experiences of loss and defeat result in what Jay Winter terms the ‘recasting of traditional language’ in an ‘attempt to find collective solace’ after 1918?

The approaching centenary of 1918 offers a timely opportunity to assess the impact of the end of World War I on German and Austrian cultural production in the interwar period. This interdisciplinary workshop aims to shed light on ways in which German and Austrian literature, art, music and film were shaped – both directly and indirectly – by experiences of wartime defeat and political unrest in the period up to 1933. How did cultural practitioners respond to the various peace settlements of 1918-1923, and how did they engage with the associated political turmoil and social upheaval? What role did culture play in envisioning and shaping a new, post-war society? And in what ways did the legacy of the war continue to influence the cultural production of the interwar years?

Scholarship on this area has often tended to concentrate on certain left-wing intellectuals and pacifists, regarding the experience of military defeat and the consequences of the peace treaties of 1918-23 as a taboo subject for all but a few individuals. The workshop seeks to broaden this focus by exposing the rich variety of cultural responses to the end of the war and considering their significance for our understanding of the cultural climate in which the Weimar Republic and the First Austrian Republic came into existence. Its comparative, interdisciplinary scope will enable similarities and differences to be traced across various forms of cultural practice, allowing light to be shed on the shifting relationships between politics and aesthetics in this period.

We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes in length. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, cultural engagement with the following:

– Peace and (ongoing) conflict
– Experiences of defeat, questions of war guilt and individual/collective responsibility;
– Revolutionary politics and revolution(s);
– Territorial losses and the reshaping of national identity;
– Internationalism and the foundation of a new global order;
– The return of war veterans and their adaptation to civilian life;
– Women’s responses to the end of the war and their emergence as political subjects;
– Commemoration, memory and memorialisation;
– Modern vs. ‘anti-modern’ aesthetic practices;
– Visions of a post-war society.

Please send a 300-word abstract and a brief biographical note to Catherine Smale (catherine.smale@kcl.ac.uk) by 31 January 2018.

The workshop will include a guided tour of the exhibition ‘Aftermath: Art in the wake of WW1’ at Tate Britain, as well as a screening of G. W. Pabst’s film Westfront 1918 – Vier von der Infanterie (1930) held in collaboration with the German Screen Studies Network. Keynote talks will be given by Ingrid Sharp (Leeds) and James Van Dyke (Missouri). Conversations are underway for the publication of selected papers in a journal special issue in 2019.

CfP: Close Encounters in War Journal – n. 0

Extended deadline to 30th November 2017

Special Issue: “Close encounters in irregular and asymmetric warfare”

Close Encounters in War Journal is a new independent and peer-reviewed journal aimed at studying war as a human experience, through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches ranging from the Humanities to the Social Sciences. The launch issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War Journal will be a Special Issue dedicated specifically to irregular warfare and titled “Close encounters in irregular and asymmetric warfare”.

Wars in general are cultural phenomena, among the most ancient and deeply rooted aspects of human cultural evolution: investigating their meaning, by reflecting on the ways we experience wars and conflicts as human beings is therefore essential. Conflict is deeply intertwined with language, culture, instincts, passions, behavioural patterns and with the human ability to represent concepts aesthetically. The concept of “encounter” is therefore fundamental as it involves experience, and as a consequence it implies the idea that the fact of encountering war shapes and develops our minds and affects our behaviour, questioning habits and values, prejudices and views of the world.

One of the most ancient types of warfare is what today is referred to as ‘irregular warfare’, as opposed to ‘conventional warfare’, which is a relatively more recent development. The combat strategies and tactics used by tribal warriors, modern guerrillas, resistance fighters and terrorists have recently been attracting the attention of military historians, strategists and intelligence experts due to the widespread terror threat, but how do human beings experience this particular type of warfare? Does it seem more threatening and scary because it can involve civilians more deeply? or because it blurs the traditional idea of war as open confrontation with a recognisable enemy? What drives non-combatants to arm themselves and become fighters? Is irregular warfare more violent, brutal and dehumanising than conventional warfare and if so, why? What is their cultural, linguistic and anthropological impact? And finally, is irregular warfare adopted also by regular armies? What is the impact of such warfare on the war-experience of the combatants involved?

For the launch issue (n. 0) of Close Encounters in War we invite articles which investigate irregular and asymmetric conflicts from ancient times to modern and contemporary periods, reaching beyond the study of military tactics and strategy and focusing on the way human beings ‘encounter’ with and within this type of armed conflict. Contributions are invited to promote discussion and scholarly research from established scholars, early-career researchers, and from practitioners who have encountered irregular warfare in the course of their activities.

The topics that can be investigated include but are not limited to:

· Irregular, asymmetric and unconventional warfare
· Insurgency and counterinsurgency
· Resistance and partisan war
· Terrorism and counter-terrorism
· Violence and trauma
· Cultural encounters and identity
· Representations of otherness, race, and gender
· Religion and politics
· Testimonies, witness-representations, oral history and memory studies

The editors of Close Encounters in War invite the submission of 3-500 words abstracts in English by 30th November 2017 to the following addresses: simona.tobia@closeencountersinwar.com and gianluca.cinelli@closeencountersinwar.com. Decisions will be made by 2nd January 2018 and the completed articles (6000-8000 words including footnotes, bibliography excluded, in English) will be expected by 15th May 2018. All contributions will go under a process of blind peer-review.

Conference: The British Home Front 1914-1918

Institute for the Study of War and Strategy, University of St Andrews
Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Friday June 22, 2018

The centenary of the First World War has been and continues to be commemorated at national level with events to mark the major military and political waypoints, from the outbreak of war by way of Gallipoli, the Somme and Ypres to the armistice. And yet the war’s scale demanded more than just a major military effort: it required the mobilisation of British society as a whole. Industry was converted to munitions production, and the state intervened directly in fresh areas, from chemicals to forestry, from agriculture to fisheries. This economic effort has not attracted recent scholarly attention, despite its scale and importance. In recognition of the effort made by all the people of Britain and the Republic of Ireland, both the United Kingdom and Scotland Governments are supporting a major conference on the British home front during the First World War, to be held in St Andrews between 20 and 22 June 2018. It will be accompanied by a wider festival addressing the war in its final centenary year.

Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

Lecture: ‘The re-conquest of America’: American munitions and British governance during the Great War

Rothermere American Institute, 1a South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UB

American History Research Seminar
Tuesday 21 November, 16:00-17:30

Jennifer Luff (Durham)
‘The re-conquest of America’: American munitions and British governance during the Great War

Event: Christmas in the Trenches: Bells of Hell, Trench Songs of the Great War

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Park Street, Woodstock, OX20 1SN
13 December 2017 7-8:30pm

Sir Stephen Sedley, who became interested in British trench songs in the 1960s and recorded recollections of veterans, discusses the remarkable body of spontaneous, insubordinate and humorous song with which the troops faced hardship and death. With live music from Dick Wolff, Ian Wheeler and Mark Fry of Three Pressed Men. Guest vocalist, Marie-Jane Barnett.

Enjoy this evening entertainment with mulled wine and a mince pie included!

And take part in an ‘Out of Hours’ opportunity to visit our Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition on the centenary of the Great War Oxfordshire Remembers 1914-1918 Part II

Admission
£16 per ticket (includes mulled wine and a mince pie)

Website: http://www.sofo.org.uk/product/bells-of-hell/

CfP: Middle Eastern and Balkan Mobilities in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)

13-14 September 2018, Cambridge, UK

Following the first conference in the series on the Middle East in the Interwar Period, Middle Eastern Societies 1918-1939: Challenges, Changes and Transitions, organised jointly with the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and held in Ankara in 2015, the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Newnham College, University of Cambridge, is organizing a conference on Middle Eastern and Balkan Mobilities in the Interwar Period (1918-1939) to be held on 13-14 September 2018 in Cambridge, UK.

The period 1918 to 1939 saw much mobility into, out of and within the region that had once formed the Ottoman empire. Examining such mobility both in the context of states which had separated from the empire before the First World War and those new nation states which emerged after the empire’s collapse in 1918, the conference aims to consider the factors behind such movements of population and their impact both on the countries to which people moved as well as on those they had moved from. It will also consider the ways in which populations maintained contacts with, or were involved politically, socially or culturally with, the countries they had left behind.

Preference will be given to papers which are case study focused and demonstrate use of primary source data. Papers will be 20 minutes in length with ten minutes for discussion. As the aim of the conference is to generate as much discussion as possible and to encourage the construction of new ideas, the number of papers will be limited and there will be no parallel sessions. It is intended to publish selected papers from the conference in a volume to be published by an international publisher.

Those interested in participating in this conference should submit an abstract (including affiliation and contact details) of between 400 and 500 words to Professor Ebru Boyar (boyar@metu.edu.tr or eb271@cam.ac.uk) by 2 February, 2018. Participants will be selected and contacted by 23 February, 2018.

Speakers’ food and accommodation will be covered by the Skilliter Centre for the duration of the conference but participants are expected to cover their own travel costs. The language of the conference will be English.

Lecture: ‘Business As Usual and Unusual: Commercial Advertising During The Great War’

The 2017 HENG Special Lecture by Andrew McCarthy
Wednesday 1st November, 5.30-6.30
Pichette Auditorium
Pembroke College, Oxford

Pembroke’s Annual HENG “Special Lecture” will be given by Andrew McCarthy, bestselling author of The Huns have got my Gramophone.

Download poster: Business As Usual and Unusual poster