CfP: The First World War in Italy and Beyond: History, Legacy and Memory (1918–2018)

30 November – 1 December 2018
Italian Institute of Culture, London

Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy

Download CfP: CFP – ASMI 2018

The conference will explore the history, legacy and memory of the First World War in Italy from 1918 to 2018. As the War was one of the formative experiences of the modern Italian nation, the aim is to place the conflict in a longer chronological perspective and to highlight its lasting impact from a range of viewpoints. Drawing on recent innovations in the historiography, the conference will shift focus away from the battlefields towards hitherto neglected areas of study, including the experience of civilians and everyday life, the transition from war to peace, and the post-war climate and reconstruction. It will shed light on how the memory of WWI shaped Italy’s national identity and served political ends during the Fascist period and after the Second World War. The intention is also to escape the confines of national historiography by placing Italy in comparative and transnational contexts. Thus, the centenary presents an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at the mark left by the War on the history, politics and society of Italy.

We welcome proposals from scholars working in a variety of disciplines including history, literature, film, politics, anthropology, art, economics, sociology and geography.

Panels might include, but are not limited to:
• The immediate aftermath of WW1 (1918–1922) and the rise of social conflict, political violence and Fascism
• The creation of the League of Nations and the emergence of pacifism, humanitarianism and internationalism
• The experience of veterans in the post-war period
• New historiographical approaches to the study of Italy and WW1
• Global, transnational and comparative perspectives
• Local, regional and national experiences
• Gender, both femininity and masculinity
• Family and societal ties
• Changes to ideas of nationhood, democracy, citizenship and community after WW1
• The legacy of WWI under Fascism
• Parallels between the aftermath of WW1 and the aftermath of WW2
• The material heritage of the War: monuments, memorials and cemeteries
• Italy’s commemorations of the centenary in national or transnational contexts

The organizers welcome proposals for individual papers and for panels composed of 3 speakers. They reserve the right to break up and re-structure proposed panels.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Prof. Gunda Barth-Scalmani (University of Innsbruck)
Author of numerous works on Italian-Austrian relations and the experiences of women during WWI, including Ein Krieg – Zwei Schützengräben, Österreich – Italien und der Erste Weltkrieg in den Dolomiten 1915–1918 (Bozen 2005) and Militärische und zivile Kriegserfahrungen 1914–1918 (Innsbruck, 2010).

Dr. Marco Mondini (University of Padua/Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento)
Author of numerous bestselling books on Italy and WW1, including most recently Il Capo. La Grande Guerra del generale Luigi Cadorna (Il Mulino 2017) and La guerra italiana. Partire, raccontare, tornare 1914-18 (Il Mulino 2014). He is a frequent contributor to programmes on Rai Storia, e.g.

Please send an abstract of max. 250 words and a short biography to:
Abstracts can be both in English and in Italian.
The closing date for receipt of abstracts is 1 June 2018

Accepted speakers will be required to join ASMI, which includes subscription to the journal Modern Italy.

Organising Committee: Selena Daly (University College Dublin), Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti (University College London), Hannah Malone (Freie Universität Berlin), Martina Salvante (University of Warwick)

CfP: Seeking third paper for panel on internationalism, warfare, & popular politics in interwar Britain (NACBS 2016)

We are two doctoral candidates seeking a third participant for a proposed panel on internationalism, warfare, popular politics, and humanitarianism in Britain between the world wars, for the 2016 NACBS session in Washington, D.C.

One paper will focus on popular internationalism and the transnational circulation of commercial narratives of the Great War in the theatre and film industries during the 1920s and 1930s. The other paper will examine the transnational circulation of British and French press among British relief workers and its use in humanitarian campaigns during the Spanish Civil War.

Submissions for the NACBS close on 2 March 2016. We are asking interested participants to submit a CV and abstract to both Emily Curtis Walters ( & Kerrie Holloway ( by Sunday, 31 January 2016.

Further information here.

Report on Workshop on the First World War and Global religions

Global Religions and the First World War: Catholicism and Islam (1 November 2014)
Chair: Adrian Gregory
Participants: Gearoid Barry, Nicolas Bianchi, Pavlina Bobic, Faisal Devji, Clothilde Houot, Justin Jones, Caitriona McCartney, Claire Morelon (rapporteur), Gajendra Singh, Michael Snape, Faridah Zaman, Jeanette Atkinson (administrator)

Adrian Gregory introduced this first workshop on global religions during the First World War by explaining how the coupling of Islam and Catholicism could help thinking transnationally about the conflict. Religion appears as a pre-eminently transnational phenomenon of the First World War. Islam and Catholicism were universal religions both in their geographic reach and their ambition to embrace the entire humanity.

The morning session on the social and cultural aspects of religions in wartime started with a discussion of the role of chaplaincies during the war. Chaplaincies did not have the same importance in different armies: they were more important in the British context than in the German army, for example. Overall, a more comparative picture of chaplaincies is needed because the different armies have been unevenly studied. The reliance on more informal forms of religious support (like the YMCA or the Salvation Army) was also underlined. The role of the war in the revival of religiosity remains difficult to assess. In the French case, there was a revival of religious sensibility during the war, but the actual impact on practice was not enormous.

The internationalism of Islam and Catholicism was then debated. There were limits to the feelings of belonging to a Catholic community in contact with other Catholic groups. Specific cults had a very national dimension (Sacred Heart, for example). In the case of Islam, a form of solidarity could exist with the Ottoman Empire in India (funds were raised for the Ottoman war effort) but it would be difficult to quantify these feelings. People at the time were also arguing that Shia and Sunni Muslims should put their differences aside. However, here also, the local dimension of religion played an essential role, for instance the cult of martyrdom in Punjab.

Religious practices constitute a new direction of research. It is essential to examine daily practices in a world where most religions were more closely practiced than nowadays. In the Muslim context, maintaining practices like body cleanliness was a major concern for soldiers. They wrote home to receive instructions on Ramadan. Dietary restrictions constitute a great point of divergence between the two religions. In the Indian Army, there was an emphasis on separate kitchens to cater for religious needs. In an attempt of Protestantisation, the religious leaders were used by the British to speak to the troops and perceived as loyal princely figures of authority. In the Catholic world, the role of intercessory saints became very prominent during the war.

The discussion of practices raised the question of the gender dimension of religion in wartime. The Catholic Church increasingly policed female behaviour. The loss of male authority often meant that the priest would replace it. Women in Islam were viewed as a repository of the community. In the Khilafat movement, women were encouraged to donate their jewellery. Bi Amman also promoted the movement unveiled and she pleaded to the audience as a mother, reinforcing this link between motherhood and the community. However, other researchers pointed out that the systematic gendering of religion was problematic. In the Catholic case, for instance, the increase of Marian devotion during the war was a constant between men and women.

The religious dimension of charitable and humanitarian activity was visible in established charitable organizations (Red Crescent, Indian Soldiers’ Fund) but it is less clear to what extent religious solidarity functioned in wartime. In the case of Belgian refugees in Britain, the Catholics worried that evangelicals would take care of the Catholic refugees. Ethno-national cleavages remained very strong in the Muslim example.

Religion represented a common trope to deal with trauma that soldiers resorted to. There was a familiarity with scriptures which provided a language to interpret the war experience. The inscription on war graves could constitute an interesting source in this respect. After the war, religion could also help in creating a different meaning of the sacrifices (in Ireland or in the successor states of Austria-Hungary). In India, memorials for martyrs were constructed in villages after the war.

During the afternoon session of the workshop, the political and intellectual dimensions of religion were discussed. The reaction of many religious leaders around the world was to present the war as a punishment for sin. In the papal encyclical of November 1914, Benedict XV voiced his concern. Later that month, the Ottoman Empire declared jihad against the Entente. It has long been believed that Constantinople acted under German pressure but new research shows that the belief that Pius X had declared war in Libya (1911-1912) as a holy war was widespread in the region at the time. The traditional chronology does not accurately reflect the Muslim understanding of the war. The First World War was seen as the most spectacular version of anti-Muslim conflicts in the region, placing it in a longer chronology (1911-1924).

Locating religious authority in wartime proves difficult. Even in the Catholic case, Benedict XV was elected right at the start of the war and only had a very short time to get settled in the position. In the Muslim world, the authority was highly fragmented and religious figures only had a local importance.

The issue of religious subversion shows the danger of reducing religion to politics. It is important to differentiate between the actual role of Islam or Catholicism in subversive movements and the fear of subversion. For example, the British always feared an international Islam conspiracy and there were supposed links between different perceived conspiracies at the time (German, Bolshevik, and Muslim).

At the end of the afternoon, several terms were proposed to characterize the new role of religion after the First World War. The concept of revivalism seems mostly useful in the American context. South Asians viewed the caliphate as a reestablishment not a revival. Finally, the term religious reinvention or resetting could describe the renewed engagement of Catholicism in French society.

In the concluding remarks, Adrian Gregory suggested the limits of the comparison between Islam and Catholicism and the risk of running two parallel discussions. Some points of direct connections between the two religions (several individuals, regions of the Russian or Habsburg Empire) could provide interesting topics for further research. The workshop closed with a discussion of the sources available to historians to explore all these new themes.

Current History: Legacies of 1914

Current History, the 100-year-old publication devoted to independent analysis of contemporary international affairs, presents its November 2014 issue, a special issue titled “Legacies of 1914.” For more information—or to subscribe and gain instant online access to the current issue and our full archives of articles—please visit our website:

Current History is available for devices with a Kindle app. Follow us on Facebook: And Twitter: @CurrentHistory1.

Our November issue includes the following essays:

The Global Legacies of World War I
by John Horne (Trinity College Dublin)
The Great War brought new forms of industrialized violence, civilian suffering, radical politics, and world order. Understanding its legacies requires a global perspective.

Rediscovering Internationalism
by Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney)
Visions of international cooperation culminated after World War I in the League of Nations. Yet internationalism in practice has always been constrained by the competing force of nationalism.

The Many Meanings of National Self-Determination
by Brad Simpson (University of Connecticut)
In 1919, Woodrow Wilson embraced the principle of nationality—but only for Europeans. Debate has continued ever since over who is entitled to nationhood, and what rights it should entail.

Genocidal Legacies of the Great War
by Mark Levene (University of Southampton)
World War I catalyzed a century of genocides. The manipulation of ethnic groups by great powers during the war weakened minority rights and led to several massacres seldom remembered today.

The Economic Consequences of the War and the Peace
by Patricia Clavin (University of Oxford)
Total war produced a new political economy: As states demanded more from their citizens, the people also expected their governments to provide more economic security.

Perspective: Contingency and Catastrophe
by Sean McMeekin (Bard College)
Drawing analogies between the global political situation in 1914 and the present misses the point: From its outbreak to its conclusion, the Great War was defined by uncertainty and accident.

Books: Dawn of the Almighty Dollar
by Emily S. Rosenberg (University of California, Irvine)
A new book by Adam Tooze boldly seeks to revise the history of World War I and the interwar era. His focus on the rise of American financial power is apt, but overlooks the role of US politics.

Current History publishes nine times per year. Each month’s issue focuses on a single region or topic—including annual issues on China and East Asia, Russia and Eurasia, the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Africa. At our website,, you can see the current monthly issue, search Current History’s archives, or download a free sample article from the current issue.