Conference: Nerves and War. Psychological Experiences of Mobilization and Suffering in Germany, 1900-1933

12-13 October 2017, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Organized by Gundula Gahlen, Björn Hofmeister, Christoph Nübel and Deniza Petrova

´Nerves´ enjoyed a central place in German debates about war at the beginning of the 20th Century. Politicians, scientists, the public, and the military discussed the extent to which a future war would strain the nerves of German society. Concepts of ´strength of nerves´ as well as of ´weakness of nerves´ were increasingly used as combat terms during the First World War. The massive scale of experiences of psychological injuries and suffering only added to this phenomenon. The social and political administration of the medical treatment of psychological war disabilities presided over post-war discourses of managing the consequences of war. Simultaneously, a new spiritual mobilization for war followed in the Weimar Republic, which, after 1933, ´synchronized´ almost all aspects of social life in the Third Reich.

Current scholarship has devoted substantial historical research to the treatment and accommodation of psychological war-disabled veterans. This conference focuses on contemporary discourses on nerves in politics, society, science, and the military and aspires to elaborate the interaction as well as their practical consequences of these discourses for the period of 1900 and 1933. At this conference nerves are understood as a code and a construct that are central in negotiating identity. Both, contemporary discourses on nerves as well as individual and collective experiences of psychological mobilization and suffering will be presented and analyzed. The focus of the conference papers is on Germany, but in a wider European context.

Venue: Freie Universität Berlin, Fabeckstraße 23-25, 14195 Berlin, Room: 2.2059

Please register/contact us by October 5, 2017 at:

For further information please visit the conference website:

CfS: Painting, Memory and the Great War

Call for Submissions for a volume on ‘Painting, Memory and the Great War’, edited by Margaret Hutchinson and Steven Trout.

Over the past century, paintings of the Great War have played an important role in shaping and expressing public memory of the conflict. Indeed, many canvases—think, for example, of the Panthéon de la Guerre or John Singer Sargent’s iconic Gassed—have enjoyed just as much cultural prominence as photographs or works of cinema. The Great War represents a “last hurrah” for painting as a significant form of cultural war remembrance. This volume will examine paintings as sites of memory, highlighting the dynamic exchange between artists and their patrons, both of whom were responsible for determining what was remembered in, and what was absent from, the

This volume seeks to draw together essays addressing individual paintings from a range of belligerent nations, including (but not limited to) Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and the United States. Each chapter will focus on the history of a single work and its role in the construction, consolidation, or perpetuation of memory. The paintings themselves may come from a wide variety of genres and styles. We are open to essays that explore the complexity of works produced during the conflict or afterwards, whether by independent painters or by members of official wartime art programs or post-war commemoration projects.

The University of Alabama Press has agreed to consider this collection as part of its new book series War, Memory and Culture. Publication is contingent upon successful external review. Please submit an abstract of 300 words outlining your proposed chapter to Margaret Hutchison and Steven Trout by 1 March 2016. Essays of 7, 000 words inclusive of footnotes in current Chicago Style format are to be submitted no later than 30 November 2016. Inquiries are welcome.