CfP: Contested Borders? Practising Empire, Nation and Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Conference at the German Historical Institute London, 26–28 April 2018

Brexit, the Basque country, Kashmir – the drawing of social and spatial boundaries, the question of belonging, and the creation of identity are at the heart of many current debates. They are based on general political, social, and economic developments and the historical experience of individuals. This is why the drawing and negotiating of borders is a relevant topic for historical research. Although borders (are intended to) define geographical and cultural spaces and possibly also political communities, there is nothing ‘natural’ about them. Rather, they are the outcomes of specific historical conditions. Thus the emergence of the European nation-states and empires was accompanied not only by the drawing of borders, but also by the establishment of political and social borders, and boundaries relating to identity politics. Nation-states and empires, therefore, are seen as the central categories of European modernity and beyond. We argue, however, that processes that occurred before and beyond the creation of nation-states equally influenced inclusion and exclusion. The categories of belonging and non-belonging were created at (post)-imperial, national, regional, and local levels, and involved various actors. For some years, the social sciences have used ‘belonging’ as a productive concept in researching these processes of negotiation. At a theoretical level and as a methodological instrument, however, ‘belonging’ has not been clearly defined.

This conference intends systematically (1) to contribute to the definition of ‘belonging’ as a research concept, (2) to explore the region as a category of historical research, and (3) to combine regional analyses consistently with perspectives drawn from the nation-state and (post)imperialism, as has been repeatedly demanded in recent literature, (4) to contribute to overcoming a widely criticized ‘methodological nationalism’ via transregional and transnational approaches. We will examine how belonging is created, as well as instances of suppressed or prevented belonging, and the political, social, and personal hierarchies associated with them. How were inclusion and exclusion created? What role did the different forms of boundaries between empires, states, nations, and regions play? What actors were involved in the creation of belonging, in the drawing of borders, and in crossing them? Fractures, resistance, and interrogations can be used to reveal lines of conflict and demonstrate the elementary functioning of the politics of belonging, and the logic behind them. We are interested both in specific local/regional and state practices of belonging, and in the concepts inherent in them.

In the nineteenth century continental Europe was characterized by dynastic developments, a number of wars, and shifting boundaries that thus became, in part, ambiguous. Both the Franco-German border and the borders of (and within) the Habsburg monarchy and the Russian empire can be described as ‘entangled borderlands’ during this period. Their ambiguities had a considerable impact on the economy, politics, and social structure, and they were changed, among other things, by cross-border migrations. After the First World War the right of popular self-determi­nation placed the drawing of borders on to a new legal footing. In its specific application as a legal principle, this new instrument had varying and sometimes paradoxical effects on the negotiation of borders and nationality. This can be traced, for example, by looking at the British Empire, which from the outset was a complex system of hybrid affiliations. With the transition to the Commonwealth, the question of belonging was complicated in a new way, for example, when India had to position itself between ‘Western values’ and non-aligned status, or when newly created republics in Africa were represented by the Queen along with the monarchies of the Commonwealth. Moreover, (sociological and ethnographic) research on migration and citizenship is increasingly examining these everyday processes of negotiation and focusing on its actors (migrants, marginalized groups, civil society, authorities etc.).

On the basis of (comparative) case studies of border regions and the processes of drawing and crossing borders in Europe, in the British Empire/Commonwealth and beyond, during the conference the concept of belonging is applied to historical research, theoretically and methodologically, at micro-level, meso-level, and macro-level, while existing research on nationalism is expanded by transregional and post-imperial perspectives. In order to pursue the questions outlined above, we would like contributions from the following subject areas and or related topics:

central terms and concepts: (1) transnational, transregional, and translocal approaches in historical research; (2) belonging and the politics of belonging in historical research;
(non‑)belonging, exclusion, and inclusion in colonial and de-colonialized contexts;
contemporary descriptions, treatment, and practices of regions, nation-states, and empires in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and their different functions;
the representation, emotionalization, and politicization of empire, nation-state, and region;
the creation of spatial, social, and political borders and border-crossings;
social inequalities and belonging (migration, marginalized groups);
agency and actors in these processes.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Floya Anthias (London) and Philip Murphy (London). We are planning to have sections on, among other things, transnational and transregional case studies, constructions of difference, representations, and (post)colonial history.

The conference ‘Contested Borders? Practising Empire, Nation and Region in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’ is intended to discuss current research questions with the help of case studies and theoretical-methodological works, and to explore the overarching themes, narratives, and perspectives of research as a whole. In order to make the discussions more intense, participants will be asked to submit their papers (maximum 3,000 words) before the conference, by 2 April 2018. Each paper will then be sent to a commentator. All participants are asked to take on the role of a commentator and chair a panel.

Please email suggestions for papers not to exceed 25 minutes in length along with an abstract (maximum 500 words) and a brief biography including main publications (maximum 1 page) to reach Levke Harders (levke.harders@uni-bielefeld.de) and Falko Schnicke (schnicke@ghil.ac.uk) by 16 October 2017. The German Historical Institute London will reimburse travel and accommodation costs for speakers.

A reviewed English-language publication of selected papers is envisaged, so we ask for original contributions only.

New books: ‘Turning Point 1917’ & ‘Le génocide des Arméniens’

Two new books have been published on the First World War.

Turning Point 1917. The British Empire at War
University of British Columbia Press, 2017.
Authors:
Douglas E. Delaney holds the Canada Research Chair in War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. He is the author of The Soldiers’ General: Bert Hoffmeister at War (2005), which won the 2007 C.P. Stacey Prize for Canadian Military History, and Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45 (2011). He is also co-editor (with Serge Marc Durflinger) of Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War (2016).
Nikolas Gardner holds the Class of 1965 Chair in Leadership at the Royal Military College of Canada. He is the author of Trial by Fire: Command and the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 (2003) and The Siege of Kut-al-Amara: At War in Mesopotamia, 1915-1916 (2014).

Further information here.

For the British Empire and its allies of the Great War, 1917 was a year marked by one crisis after another. There was the overthrow of the Russian czar and the collapse of his massive armies, and the mutinies of the battered French army. There was also social and political upheaval on the home front, including labour unrest in Britain and opposition to conscription in Canada and Australia. But, here and there, glimmers of light pierced the gloom. Soldiers began solving the problems posed by trench warfare. The dominions, inspired by burgeoning nationalism, asserted themselves more in the councils of imperial power. And the United States finally entered the war.

Turning Point 1917 examines the British imperial war effort during the most pivotal and dynamic twelve months of the Great War. Written by internationally recognized historians from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, its chapters explore military, diplomatic, and domestic aspects of how the empire prosecuted the war. Their rich, nuanced analysis transcends narrow, national viewpoints of the conflict to examine the British Empire as a coalition rather than individual states engaged in their own distinctive struggles.

By drawing attention to the events that made 1917 a turning point, this book provides a unique perspective on the war. These events ultimately laid the groundwork for victory, strengthening the position of the British Empire relative to its enemies while, at the same time, forging arrangements to accommodate the increasingly divergent interests and identities of the dominions.

 

Le génocide des Arméniens : représentations, traces, mémoires
Sous la direction de : Joceline Chabot, Marie-Michèle Doucet, Sylvia Kasparian, Jean-François Thibault
Presses de l’Université Laval, 2017.

En 2015 avait lieu le 100 e anniversaire du génocide des Arméniens. Durant la Première Guerre mondiale, plus d’un million d’Arméniens ont été exterminés en raison d’une politique génocidaire instaurée et perpétrée par les autorités en place dans l’Empire ottoman. Aujourd’hui, ce drame est considéré comme l’un des premiers génocides du XX e siècle.

Ce livre, qui réunit des chercheurs nationaux et internationaux, explore les thèmes et les questions qui animent les recherches les plus récentes sur le génocide des Arméniens. Les chapitres qui composent cet ouvrage collectif sont regroupés autour de trois axes : représentations, traces et mémoires. En privilégiant une approche multidisciplinaire, il s’agit de rendre compte des dimensions multiples de cet objet d’étude et de mettre en relief les aspects structurants des débats actuels sur le génocide des Arméniens.

Further information here.

CfP: Their Past, Their Memory? King’s College, London, 15 Sept, 2017

King’s College London, 15 September 2017

A one-day interdisciplinary workshop hosted at King’s College, London as part of the AHRC-funded Teaching and Learning War Research Network to explore young people’s engagement with and receptivity to the cultural memory messages of the two world wars from an international comparative perspective. We welcome abstract submissions from academic researchers and educational practitioners in schools, museums, non-profit organisations, archives and heritage organisations.

The event will be structured around short presentations of no more than 15 minutes ensuring maximum time for group discussion.

General queries and abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to Catriona Pennell (C.L.Pennell@exeter.ac.uk) by 9 June 2017. Please include your name, organisation/institution and contact email in the abstract.

While the workshop is free to attend for all, the AHRC is also providing fifteen travel bursaries of up to £100pp for those travelling from outside the Greater London area – please indicate on your abstract/in your email whether you would like to be considered for the bursary. Priority will be given to PGRs, ECRs, and representatives of non-academic institutions/organisations.

Download call for papers: Their Past, Their Memory_CfP

Assistant Professor, Military or Diplomatic History of Britain or the British Empire, Department of History

The Department of History in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary invites applications for a 2-year contingent term position at the rank of Assistant Professor. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2017.

We are seeking a candidate who will establish and maintain an active and externally funded research program in the area of military or diplomatic history of Britain or the British Empire from the 18th through 20th centuries. Ability to teach the history of intelligence would be considered an asset. The successful candidate will be expected to teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the area of their specialization in addition to a wide range of courses in the program of History including contributions to our core introductory courses. Participation in the affairs of the department and service to the department, faculty and university is also expected.

The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in history or a relevant field, (or provide solid indication of completion by the position start date – July 1, 2017). In addition, the successful candidate must display evidence of excellence in both research and teaching. Candidates may demonstrate research excellence through peer-reviewed publications, a strong record of research productivity, and a proven track-record of (or potential to) successfully secure research grants. Evidence of excellence in teaching should be demonstrated via a teaching dossier (including a convincing statement of teaching philosophy, strong teaching evaluations, and an exceptional record of commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching, student supervision, and mentorship).

The Department of History is a research-intensive department with high standards in teaching. We value interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to research and training, and strongly encourage collaboration. Please visit the department website for more information.

Applicants should submit a letter of application detailing their research and teaching interests, a curriculum vitae, no more than four samples of scholarly work (in electronic form if possible), and a teaching dossier including a statement of teaching philosophy. Please also arrange for three confidential letters to reference to be sent directly to the Department Head by the deadline stated above.

Send application materials to:

Dr. Mark Konnert
Head, Department of History
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2N 1N4
Email: mkonnert@ucalgary.ca

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2017.

CfP: The Church and Empire

Church and Empire: Ecclesiastical History Society, Winter Meeting
14 January 2017
Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK

From its beginnings, the Christian Church has had close, often symbiotic relationships with empires and imperial power. Christianity emerged within the Roman Empire; it was shaped amid persecution and martyrdom by imperial power. Then, in 313 AD Constantine granted Christianity toleration, and soon it became the official religion of the Roman Empire, influenced by Roman imperial institutions. Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Christianity remained the religion of the Eastern, or Byzantine Empire until its fall in 1453. In the West, the connection of Christianity and imperial power was revived in the ninth century with the Carolingian Empire – which was itself again revived in the tenth century – and with the Anglo-Norman, Genoese and Venetian Empires.

The medieval and early modern periods saw re-conceptualisations of empire as both a theoretical structure of rulership and a political-theological order. This included conceptions of papal dominium through the idea of universal empire and Christ/the pope as dominus mundi – as well as emerging notions of ‘regnal imperialism’, with ‘the king as emperor in his own kingdom’. Henry VIII famously based his claim to supremacy over the Church on the idea that ‘this realm of England is an empire’. The Russian Tsarist Empire was from its beginnings associated with Orthodoxy and conceptions of Moscow as the ‘Third Rome’.

From the sixteenth century, the Churches were connected with European empires in the Americas, Africa and Asia – the Spanish Empire, the Dutch Empire, the French Empire and the British Empire. These empires were driven primarily by the pursuit of wealth and power, but they developed Christian and humanitarian missions – women playing prominent roles – including efforts to suppress slavery. The connections between the Bible and the flag were ambivalent; while men and women missionaries sometimes supported empire, they were frequently its greatest critics. Another aspect of empire and its after-echoes was (and still is) the extraordinary mass migration first of European peoples, and then of those they colonized, too, and the resultant growth and diversification of Churches.

The conference will explore the relations of Churches and empires, and Christian conceptions of empire, in the ancient, medieval, early modern and modern periods, as well as the role of empire in the global expansion of Christianity.

Keynote Speakers
Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge)
Tom Devine (Edinburgh)

Proposals of around 200 words should be submitted to ehseditorial@gmail.com by 15 September 2016.

New blog for Oxford’s WWI Centenary ‘Continuations and Beginnings’ website

Hanna Smyth, who is completing her DPhil on the relationship between Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites and identity, recently contributed to the University of Oxford’s WWI Centenary ‘Continuations and Beginnings’ website. Her blog, WWI Memorials of the British Empire: Identity and Memory on the Western Front, can be accessed here.

CfP: Defining Canada, 1867-2017: values, practices and representations

International Conference / Congress of The French Association of Canadian Studies
Paris, 14-16 June 2017

On July 1st 2017, Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. On this historic occasion, the French Association of Canadian Studies (AFEC), in conjunction with the Research Center on Anglophone Cultures (LARCA) of Université Paris Diderot, will hold a conference to explore the evolution of Canada and what defines it. This conference intents to favor the historical perspective of the longue durée, by examining not only what defines Canada in 2017, but by comparing this with the way it was defined in 1867, at the time of Confederation, as well as in 1967, at the time of the centennial. To do so, the conference will be organized around three guiding lines that correspond to the values, the practices and the representations through which Canada is defined.

Abstracts can be submitted individually or as a panel (group of 4 proposals around the same topic), in French or in English.

Deadline to submit abstracts (400 words) along with a short bio (100 words), preferably in Word format: 1st July 2016

Notification of acceptance: 30 September 2016

Contact: Dr. Laurence CROS
Associate Professor, Canadian Studies,
Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7)
Email: laurence.cros@univ-paris-diderot.fr

Selected papers from this conference will be published in the journal Études Canadiennes / Canadian Studies, first as a paper issue, followed one year later by a free-access electronic issue on http://eccs.revues.or/

Further information here.