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.

Book review: Lawrence of Arabia’s War: The Arabs, the British and the Remaking of the Middle East in WW1, by Neil Faulkner.

The story of the young war hero has historically captivated Western readers for decades. However, in the recent past, there have been calls to engage more deeply with the lesser-known histories and broader participants in the First World War. In this context, Sneha Reddy argues that Faulkner’s book goes in the other direction and shifts the spotlight back to Lawrence by making him the central focus of his study. Nonetheless, she adds, for a book that is a result of a ten-year endeavour, ending in 2014, to study modern conflict archaeology as part of the Great Arab Revolt Project, it is uniquely placed.

Author: Sneha Reddy is a PhD student at the School of International Relations in the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on French North African and British Indian soldiers in the First World War in the Middle East.

Review on publisher’s site here
Author’s e-print link
Article DOI

CfP: November 2nd 1917-November 29th 1947 – the make-up and break-up of British colonialism in the Middle East

An international Conference, Western Galilee College, 29-30 November 2017

The conference will focus on British Colonial policy in the Middle East starting with the Balfour Declaration (November 2nd, 1917) until the UN decision to end the British Mandate on Palestine (November 29th, 1947). The conference will take place in the Western Galilee College in Akko, Israel on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 of November 2017, celebrating a century of the Balfour Declaration and seven decades of the UN decision.

Proposals regarding all aspects of British Colonialism in the Middle East are to be sent to Dr. Yitzhak Ronen Roneni@wgalil.ac.il or Dr. Haim Sperber Haims@wgalil.ac.il until Wednesday March 1st, 2017. Answers will be sent by April 20th, 2017.

Talk: Malaria and the War beyond the Western Front

Public Lecture with Professor Mark Harrison, Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford
Glass Tank, Abercrombie, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site
Tuesday, 29 November 2016, 16:00 to 17:30

This lecture will examine the British Army’s fight against one of its most implacable foes – the mosquito. In most theatres apart from the Western Front, malaria was an enormous drain on morale and military efficiency. It was by no means the only disease that led to heavy losses in theatres such as Salonika and the Middle East, but, along with venereal disease, it proved to be one of the most intractable. Wartime conditions worsened what was already, in many locations, an unfavourable situation as far as health was concerned. Preventive measures proved ill equipped to deal with these conditions, especially when troops were on the move. All armies suffered badly but ideas of racial immunity to malaria were used to justify the replacement of white troops in some theatres with ‘native’ troops from Britain’s imperial territories. This raised political tensions in territories such as India. The lecture will also consider the legacy of the war. The influx of many foreign troops, the destruction of infrastructure, and population displacement had a deep and enduring impact on the health of civilians.
About the speaker

Mark Harrison is Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He has written on many aspects of the history of disease and medicine in relation to war and imperialism. His books include The Medical War: British Military Medicine in the First World War (2010) and Medicine and Victory: British Military Medicine in the Second World War (2005), both of which won the Templer Medal Book Prize awarded by the Society for Army Historical Research. He currently holds a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award entitled, ‘Invisible Crises, Forgotten Histories: Malaria in Asia, 1900-Present’.

For further information, please contact: Tudor Georgescu (tgeorgescu@brookes.ac.uk) and see here.

This seminar is organized in collaboration with The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and the Centre for Medical Humanities.

Lecture: The Great War and the Middle East, 24 November, 5pm, Pembroke College Oxford

Dr Rob Johnson is giving a special lecture on “The Great War and the Middle East” on 24 November from 17.00-18.30 in the Harold Lee Room, Pembroke College. It will be followed by drinks.

This is a joint event with Pembroke History Society.

Registration:
Register on: ccw.ox.ac.uk/events
Or via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-great-war-and-the-middle-east-tickets-28330554451

Many of the most commonly accepted assertions about the First World War in the Middle East are more often stated than they are truly tested. Drawing on detailed research into the strategic and operational course of the war in the Middle East, Rob argues that, far from being a sideshow to the war in Europe, the Middle Eastern conflict was in fact the centre of gravity in a war for imperial domination and prestige. Moreover, contrary to another persistent myth of the First World War in the Middle East, local leaders and their forces were not simply the puppets of the Great Powers in any straightforward sense. The way in which these local forces embraced, resisted, succumbed to, disrupted, or on occasion overturned the plans of the imperialist powers for their own interests in fact played an important role in shaping the immediate aftermath of the conflict – and in laying the foundations for the troubled Middle East that we know today.

Download poster: rjmiddleeast

CfP: Between Realpolitik and Utopia: A Century with the Balfour-Declaration

We call for potential contributors to the conference “Between Realpolitik and Utopia: A Century with the Balfour-Declaration”, to take place at Basel University, 1-3 November 2017.

Coordinators and conveners of the conference are Alfred Bodenheimer and Erik Petry (Center for Jewish Studies) and Maurus Reinkowski (Seminar of Middle Eastern Studies), University of Basel, in cooperation with Hans-Lukas Kieser from The Centre for the History of Violence, University of Newcastle, Australia.

The Balfour Declaration is a major stepping stone in the construction of new order of the Middle East after the demise of the Ottoman Empire, but it is also a notion of what Palestine, Europe and the Middle East might and or should – not – have been. The conference will address the various utopian and dystopian aspects and interpretations of the declaration. The Balfour Declaration has multiplied the projective dimensions of Palestine in the European imagination and has made it part of Europe’s history of identity by embedding the Zionist vision into Western imperial ‘Realpolitik’. A main rationale of the conference is to argue that the Balfour Declaration is emblematic for how convoluted the two entities are that we still conceive today as ‘Europe’ and the ‘Middle East’.

For an extended abstract of the conference’s rationale please see here: balfour-conference_2017_11_1-3_basel

It is the intention of this conference to bring together researchers from various disciplines and fields who, based on free and substantial research (including archival historical research) can contribute to an innovative and responsible thinking on the complex issue of the Balfour Declaration.

Scholars interested to participate are requested to send by 30 June 2016 an exposé (1000 words) and a CV (1 page) to Maurus Reinkowski (maurus.reinkowski@unibas.ch) and Erik Petry (erik.petry@unibas.ch).

Universitaet Basel
Middle Eastern Studies
Maiengasse 51
4056 Basel
Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)61 267 28 60
Fax +41 (0)61 267 28 64

Conference report: The Great War in the Middle East 1911-1923, 20-21 April 2016

A major international conference, entitled ‘The Great War in the Middle East 1911-1923’ organised jointly by the War Studies Department of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford, took place on 20-21 April 2016. It re-examined the origins, conduct and consequences of the First World War in the Middle East. This conference brought together historians of the Middle East and the First World War to discuss this formative event and to relate the Great War to the broader period of conflict that affected the Ottoman Empire from 1911 to 1923.

A report on the conference by Dr Rob Johnson is available here: ME Great War Conference Report