Conference: Peripheral Visions: European Soldiers and Cultural Encounters in the Long Nineteenth Century

Trinity College Dublin
2 – 4 June 2016

From the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, European powers mounted military expeditions to the eastern periphery of the continent and to the edge of what they considered to be the ‘civilized’ world. From the Napoleonic expeditions to Italy, Egypt and Russia to the British conquest of Egypt in the 1880s, and from the German Empire’s involvement with the Ottoman Empire to the British and French campaigns in Macedonia and Palestine during the First World War, European soldiers ventured into exotic lands. In so doing, they experienced the unknown while also confronting their own cultural pre-conceptions about the territories they visited and the people against or amongst whom they fought. Often the places they invested were redolent with European cultural significance (Rome, Egypt, Jerusalem), a significance belied by the modern realities of those same sites. In making war, they mapped a Europe of their own imagining. Yet because they engaged in the overt violence of war and the more covert violence of occupation, their encounters were not those of tourists, traders or travel writers, though they certainly contained elements of all three. There was a military specificity to what they saw, to whom they encountered and to how they did so. The encounters were important for the soldiers themselves, for their home countries and for the societies to which they went. Indeed, in terms of numbers and influence, these militarized encounters were one of the most important ways in which Europeans engaged with the eastern and southern periphery of their continent in the course of the long 19th century.

The conference is open to interested scholars. We request intending participants to register (with no charge) in advance. In order to do so, and for all further information, please contact: Dr Fergus Robson ( or Dr Mahon Murphy (

Further information and conference programme: Peripheral Visions Conference Programme