‘Marianne in War and Peace, 1913-1923. The French Republic in the era of the Great War’. A special issue of French History
The study of the First World War continues to thrive as the centennial commemorations of the conflict draw to a close. In large part, the current vitality of First World War studies stems from the cultural and comparative turns taken by the historiography since the 1980s. Anxious to dispense with national paradigms to interrogate the broader and transnational currency of the wartime systems of representations, historians of the Great War often elected to focus on the cultural dimensions of the conflict. Historians of France played and continue to play a critical role in the renewal of this field (Hanna & Horne, 2016; Smith, 2016).
In France itself, a long-lasting controversy over the existence and significance of a “culture de guerre” has framed the analysis of wartime mobilization as an alternative between consent and coercion. In 1998, this important debate about the respective importance of patriotic mobilization and state-enforced discipline degenerated into a full-blown academic dispute. Two decades on, it still simmers and occasionally boils over to the detriment of scholars and scholarship alike.
This controversy has reinforced the domestic outlook of the historiographical debate in France and accounts, partly at least, for its limited engagement with foreign historiographies. Likewise, French historians have relatively neglected the colonial and imperial dimensions of the conflict. Most significantly, the debate is often artificially framed as an opposition between cultural and social historians. As a result, our understanding of the politics of wartime mobilization and demobilization remains fragmented, despite the rejuvenation and dynamism of French political history as a whole.
This guest-edited special issue of French History sets out to address this problem. It aims to showcase innovative perspectives on the French experience of the First World War. It will focus on the political dimensions of military operations and on the contested process of social and cultural mobilization. It will also consider how France and the French came to terms with the fraught process of demobilization, and dealt with the multifaceted legacies of the conflict across the country and its empire.
Proposals should be submitted in the first instance to Pierre Purseigle (firstname.lastname@example.org). They should include the proposed title of the article, its summary (500 words max.), and a one-page C.V. The deadline for submission of the proposals is 15 November 2017. Full manuscripts of selected articles (8-10,000 words max.) will be due by 1 February 2018.
Please note that each selected article will be peer-reviewed in accordance with the journal’s editorial procedure. The decision to publish will rest with French History’s editorial team.
M. Hanna and J. Horne, ‘France and the Great War on Its Centenary’, French Historical Studies, 39: 2, April 2016, pp. 233–259
L. V. Smith, ‘France, the Great War, and the “Return to Experience”’, The Journal of Modern History, 88: 2, June 2016, pp.380–415.