CFP: Cultural Encounters during Global War, 1914-1918: Traces, Spaces, Legacies

Date: 21 – 23 January 2016
Place: London, United Kingdom

Dr Santanu Das, King’s College London
Prof Andreas Gestrich, German Historical Institute
Dr Daniel Steinbach, King’s College London

The First World War resulted in an unprecedented range of encounters between peoples from different ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. Soldiers from across the globe travelled to different theatres of war – Europe, the Middle East, East Africa, Egypt, Gallipoli – where they not only encountered fellow-soldiers and non-combatants with different languages, religions or customs, but also interacted with friendly or belligerent civilians. Between 1914 and 1918, on French soil alone, there were over 1 million Asian and African men, both soldiers and non-combatants, in addition to soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and North America.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate the different kinds of encounters, exchanges and entanglements happening during wartime. What particular pressures did the conditions of war put on such encounters? What is the relationship between ‘forced encounters’ (as in camps for POW or civilian internees), ‘voluntary’ encounters (as in towns, markets, billets) and the state-sponsored ideologically motivated ‘indirect’ encounters (in the neutral countries)? Does encounter always involve exchange? What were the structures of power and how did they navigate the prevalent ideologies of race? How did the encounters and exchanges occur across linguistic, national, religious, ethnic and social barriers, and what were their post-war legacies in terms of social, cultural, artistic and literary memory for Europe? Papers which pay attention to encounters or exchanges which involve colonials and neutrals – which is still a largely under-researched area – are particularly welcome.

Accommodation will be provided for speakers for the duration of the conference and speakers’ travel expenses will be reimbursed within reason.

Proposals from scholars at any stage in their career are invited and papers with an interdisciplinary approach are particularly welcome.

Participants should send abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-25 minute paper, a short biography, and any enquiries to by 14 September 2015.

Further information: CfP_Cultural Encounters during Global War