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 ( or 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.

CfP: Artistic Expressions and the Great War: A Hundred Years On

Hofstra Cultural Center, New York, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday November 7, 8, 9, 2018

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, this interdisciplinary conference proposes to explore the impact of total war on the arts from a transnational perspective, including attention to the Ottoman Empire and colonial territories. We are defining arts broadly – literature, performing arts, visual arts and media, including film, propaganda and other mass mediated forms.

World War I was the matrix on which all subsequent violence of the 20th century was forged. The war took millions of lives, led to the fall of four empires, established new nations, and negatively affected others. During and after the war, individuals and communities struggled to find expression for their wartime encounters and communal as well as individual mourning. Throughout this time of enormous upheaval, many artists redefined their place in society, among them writers, performers, painters and composers. Some sought to renew or re-establish their place in the postwar climate, while others longed for an irretrievable past, and still others tried to break with the past entirely. This conference explores the ways that artists contributed to wartime culture – both representing and shaping it – as well as the ways in which wartime culture influenced artistic expressions. Artists’ places within and against reconstruction efforts illuminate the struggles of the day. We seek to examine how they dealt with the experience of conflict and mourning and their role in re-establishing creative traditions in the changing climate of the interwar years.

Keynote address: The Great War and the Avant-Gardes
Annette Becker, Professor of Contemporary History, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense

We invite proposals from a broad range of scholars in all disciplines on the following and related themes:
Individual artists
Art movements
Artistic expressions of wartime atrocities
Literature and art concerning the memory of the Great War
The artistic design and construction of war memorials
Gender and artistic/media expression
Mass media and the war
State intervention/censorship and artistic expression
Artistic strategies for sustaining creative activity during the war
Support of artists and artistic expression during the war
Artists’ national and international networks, their dissolution, reconstitution, or continuation before and after the war
Changes in performance practices during and/or after the war
The dynamic relationship between artistic expression and mourning in the postwar climate
The emergence of new gender norms and their impact on creative choices after the war
New directions for artists after the war
Artistic expressions in the colonial territories during and after the war
Artistic expression, racialization, and race politics

The deadline for submission of proposals is January 15, 2018.

Applicants should email a 250-word proposal and a one-page curriculum vitae to the conference director, Sally Debra Charnow, at Include the applicant’s name and email address.

Conference Director:
Sally Debra Charnow, PhD
Department of History
Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York 11549

For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669 or

CfP: Cities on the Move: Turkey and Yugoslavia in the Interwar Period

Third Balkan Visual Meeting, 14-16 September 2017, University of Basel

Yugoslavia and Turkey are two nation states which emerged at the end of World War I on the remains of the Ottoman (and in case of Yugoslavia, partly of the Habsburg) Empire. One was a monarchy formed at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1918, with the former King of Serbia becoming the King of a ‘three-named nation’ of South-Slavs. The other, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was forged under the conviction that the Ottomanist policy of the last Sultans had failed and that the Anatolian ‘heart’ of the former empire was therefore to become exclusively Turk. The founding of the two new states triggered a dynamic development especially in the large cities, where the new regimes first implemented their nation building projects.

The Third Balkan Visual Meeting (14-16 September 2017, University of Basel) will look at these developments from a visual approach and explore how urban landscapes and everyday life in these cities changed under the new national order, addressing the following issues:

1. The city centre as a showcase of progress and modernity
2. The old çarşı/čaršija between neglect, nostalgia, and reform
3. Nationalist ‘Zeitgeist’: Nation and Body in the city
4. From subject to citizen: Gender, body and dress
5. Leisure and holidays
6. Workers and poverty relief
7. Art and Urban Planning
8. The ruler in the city: Progress, Repression, Neglect?

The main focus is on the cities which are under investigation in the ongoing Basel SIBA project: Sarajevo, Istanbul, Belgrade, Ankara, but also other cases are welcome. The SIBA project explores the cities named above through the photographic lens of local press reporters and press reports in large daily newspapers such as ‘Politika’, ‘Vreme’, ‘Cumhuriyet’ and ‘Akşam’ (see

Please submit your paper proposal, including name and affiliation, paper title, an abstract of up to 300 words and a short academic bio, to Yorick Tanner ( by 26 February 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by 12 March 2017. We plan to publish a selection of papers in an edited volume on the visual history of the Balkans and Anatolia.

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 ( and Erik Petry (

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

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

Launched Online Exhibition for research project “Making War, Mapping Europe: Militarized Cultural Encounters, 1792-1920”

Historians at the Freie Universität Berlin have launched a virtual exhibition about intercultural contacts within military and war contexts under the following link:

In six thematic sections, the online exhibition “Making War, Mapping Europe” portrays cultural contacts among soldiers from France, England, and Germany who were stationed at the periphery of Europe and in the Middle East during the “long 19th century.” The anniversaries of the Napoleonic Wars and of the First World War have awakened a broader interest in these events. Therefore, the exhibition is not solely designed for an academic audience, but rather was conceptualized for interested laypeople. Visitors here receive a visual impression of the presence of the Napolonic soldiers in Egypt, Italy, and Russia, as well as German military members’ encounters with the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan region during the First World War. Two further sections of the exhibition are dedicated to Bavarian soldiers in Greece and the British soldiers in Egypt in the 19th century.

The online exhibition arose within the framework of the HERA-funded international research project ‘Making War, Mapping Europe,’ which is led by Professor Dr. Oliver Janz at the Freie Universität Berlin, and which is supported by its members at the Trinity College Dublin and the British universities of Swansea and York.

Further information here.

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

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

This major international conference, 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, will re-examine the origins, conduct and consequences of the First World War in the Middle East. The voluminous historiography of the conflict remains, however, focused on the European experience of 1914-18. This conference brings 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.

The fee for attending the conference is £200; accommodation and dinners can also be booked as optional extras. If you wish to attend please email Dr James Kitchen for a copy of the conference information pack, booking form and the security form:

Further information and programme: GWME Advert