CfP: MGHG Conference: Museums, Collections & Conflict, 1500-2010

MGHG Biennial Conference 2018, National Maritime Museum, 13-14 July 2018

Keynote speaker: Annie Coombes, Professor of Material and Visual Culture, Birkbeck, University of London

Museums have been profoundly shaped by war and armed conflict, and have also played a significant part in shaping understandings and memories about them. Yet there has been little sustained examination of the way museums in war and war in museums has played out. Since Gaynor Kavanagh’s foundational study Museums and the First World War in 1994, and with the publication this year of Catherine Pearson’s similarly ground-breaking Museums in the Second World War, it is clear that museums have played and can play an important role in helping society address such crisis situations. On the home front, for example, museums have helped society prepare for war and armed conflict. In leading commemoration in the aftermath of war and armed conflict, museums have helped society come to terms with what happened, understand why it happened, and remember sacrifices. Yet museums have equally served as arenas where issues such as commemoration have been contested and negotiated, and where particular narratives legitimising war and conflict have been developed. This conference hopes to address a broad range of questions, including on collecting (in) war and armed conflict, on the deliberate targeting and destruction or safeguarding of museums and cultural property, and the broader range of institutions brought forth or which are strongly influenced by war and armed conflict.

We seek papers which particularly address but are not restricted to the following questions over a period from the Early Modern to the end of the twentieth century:

What have museums done during periods of conflict and what has happened to them? Have they been responsible for morale, have they been targets of attack, have they physically moved and how has their staffing been affected?
How have museums and collections acted to commemorate conflict?
In what ways have wars and other conflicts affected museums’ and collectors’ collecting activities, positively or negatively? How have wars and conflicts been collected, and by whom?
How have museums represented war, civil war and other conflicts such as rebellions? Have museums promoted peace by interpreting war?
How have museums of conflict, of the armed forces and of weaponry/armouries developed historically?

We welcome proposals for papers which deal with the history of museums and collecting in a British, European or wider context or which address the relationships between different geographical areas.

Paper proposals should be for papers of 20 minutes’ length. Proposals should be 250 words max and include the name, contact details and affiliation (if applicable) of the speaker.
Panel proposals are strongly encouraged and should consist of a panel title, proposals for 3 papers, along with a rationale for the panel theme, and contact details and affiliations (if applicable) of all participants. Please indicate whether you will provide a chair for your session or not (it does not matter which).
Poster proposals are also welcomed. Please contact Kate Hill (khill@lincoln.ac.uk) for more information.

All the above proposals should be sent to contact@mghg.info by 1 March 2018. Please note all speakers and poster presenters will be expected to pay the conference registration fee.

Further information here.

CfP: Communication and the Great War 1914-2014

Contributors are sought for a proposed edited volume which focuses on communication in and after the Great War. Despite the imposition of censorship, it was still necessary to communicate with populations in war. Communication is broadly defined here, ranging from the national and regional to the local and may focus on the reasons for going to war; war aims and objectives; national and local government policy in relation to areas such as conscription, rationing or labour co-ordination, through to informal communication between loved ones. Even after the war ended the implications of the peace settlement need to be explained to the masses. Had the war been worth the sacrifice? There is also scope in this call for work being undertaken which examines how the war has been presented to the public in musuems and other public forums since the conflict ended.

Areas of interest may include, but are not limited to:

The role of the press (national and regional)
Intellectual explanations of the war
Local and national government communication
Communication within the armed services
Transnational communication
Informal Communication (letter Writing for example)
Museums/Public forums and the presentation of the War

If scholars are interested in contributing to this volume please email an abstract of around 200 words to the proposed editor for the project Dr John Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in History, Massey University, New Zealand. j.griffiths@massey.ac.nz by January 5 2018.

CfP: ESSHC 2018 Session: Digitising visitor encounters with warfare

European Social Science History Conference 2018 (Queen’s University, Belfast, April 4-7, 2018)
Session title: Digitising visitor encounters with warfare
Session Organisers: Dr Ria Dunkley, University of Glasgow and Laurie Slegtenhorst MA, Erasmus University Rotterdam

War has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries (Seaton, 1996), while throughout the 20th-century, warfare and allied memorabilia arguably constituted the world’s largest tourist attraction (Smith, 1996). This situation shows little sign of abating within the present day, when visitation of sites such as the Battlefields of Culloden (UK) and those associated with World War I and II continues to increases (Dunkley, 2011). Yet, for many visitors, understanding the events that have occurred at historical places can be difficult. This is particularly the case for ancient battle sites, where historical relics associated with the event are no longer visible. Due to the increase centrality of visual representations in present day society, publics often desire affective connection to the past, involving tacit involvement with a history that can be touched, heard and smelt, as well as seen (Landsberg, 2015). Digital tools, such as apps, virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D animation arguably provide visitors with totalising, immersive experiences of history and enable an appreciation of the multiple layers of history at war-related sites. Yet, despite a recent proliferation in the number of sites harnessing digital technology to augment the visitor experience, little research has focused upon the way such sites are experienced by the visitors who use these digital tools.

This session seeks papers that explore how different types of visitors engage with history at war-related sites in diverse ways. Questions that will be central to the session include: how do visitors use digital tools to navigate sites of war?; how is the experience history enhanced through digital mediation?; do digital tools engage visitors with history at a deeper, more critical level?; can digital technology enhance understandings of complex historical events? and; is it possible to cater to the needs of homogenous groups of visitors (including, school children, special interest tourists, serendipitous visitors, veterans, survivors and victims’ relatives) through harnessing digital technology?

Proposed research topics include, but are not limited to:

Visitor experiences of using digital technology to navigate sites associate with war (including sites of actual events, as well as museums, memorials and sites of internment);
The significance of memory and pre-conceptions to how digital representations are engaged with;
The representation of divergent identities within digital applications developed for war-related sites (including representations of gender, class and race);
The potentials of digitisation of war-related sites for formal and informal learning (particularly in terms of democracy education);
Innovative methodologies for understanding how the visitor experience is mediated by digital technology at war-related sites.

Presentations should be approximately twenty minutes in length. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Laurie Slegtenhorst (slegtenhorst@eshcc.eur.nl) and Ria Dunkley (ria.dunkley@glasgow.ac.uk) by April, 23, 2017. Submissions should also include: Author name, institutional affiliation, e-mail and mailing address. Please do also get in touch with any questions, or to discuss alternative forms of presentation.

For more information on the conference, please visit: https://esshc.socialhistory.org/