Call for Papers: Beyond the Western Front -The Global First World War

Call for Papers: Beyond the Western Front -The Global First World War

The Centre for Hidden Histories is proud to announce a two day Conference and Community Showcase, entitled Beyond the Western Front: The Global First World War to take place at the Albert Hall Conference Centre, Nottingham, 1st and 2nd July 2016

Two young Belgian girls greet their father outside their home on his return from work, as their mother looks on from the doorway. Birtley-Elisabethville, Co. Durham, 1918. IWM Q 27746
Two young Belgian girls greet their father outside their home on his return from work, as their mother looks on from the doorway. Birtley-Elisabethville, Co. Durham, 1918. IWM Q 27746

Through a combination of academic papers, workshops and creative performances, this free conference will examine different understandings of the war and seek to provide a broader cosmopolitan context in which to place the British First World War orthodoxy. We seek representation from a variety of national, faith and other emerging communities whose histories are rarely considered, and for whom the traditional Armistice Day celebrations may have strikingly different meanings.

The existence of a First World War beyond the Western Front is a critical element of the Centre’s thematic interest and the conference would be intended to examine this in an open and discursive manner. We are actively seeking contributions from community groups and academic researchers.

It is hoped that the debates at the event will prompt further research and collaboration between academics and communities. Where possible, prompts to the AHRC Connected Communities, Care for the Future and Global Uncertainties themes will be made.

The conference will explore four major themes:

  1. The Lives of ‘Others’
    We are looking for contributions that examine the experiences of those whose war was fought outside the western trenches; at home and around the world. This embraces not only the combatant roles of Asian and African troops in European and non-European theatres but also the important contribution of labour. All the combatants enlisted labour for the myriad heavy duties to supply and maintain front lines. There are few monuments to labourers. The Great War was also a global war at sea, and a large number of merchant seamen were non-Europeans.
  1. The War as Global Revolution
    The war was one of the most significant moments of change in recent history. We want to examine the global impact of these changes, in the destruction of old orders, the raising of new ones and in the development of new ways of living. This raises the question of periodisation e.g. the ‘1914-18 war’ so often projected; or, in the language of the UK Allied Victory medal ‘The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919’; but what of the perspective from other parts of the world, eg. Turkey – should it be 1911 to the Treaty of Lausanne 1923? What is rather obvious is that the Great War did not end with the ‘Armistice’ or with the Paris treaties, but turned to revolution with sustained violence and destruction on a large scale across a large part of the world.
  1. We Are Making a New World: The lives of those who survived
    In remembering the fallen, did we forget the even greater numbers who came home? We are interested in proposals that will examine the challenges faced by the men, women and children who lived into the peace. There were not many ‘memorials’ for those who survived the war, but there were memories and psychological damage on a large scale.
  1. Different Memorial Cultures
    With the war now lost to living memory, cultures of remembrance are the primary methods by which people engage with it. We are looking for contributions that illuminate and explore the very different cultures of remembrance across national, ethnic and social groups.

 

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

 

  • The impact of defeat
  • The impact of victory
  • The questioning of religious belief as a result of war
  • From 1914 to When? The question of periodisation
  • ‘Enemy aliens’ and the impact of war on minority communities
  • The concept of the refugee from 1914 to the present day
  • Migration and resettlement
  • The First World War and the founding of nation states
  • War and the growth of the power of the State
  • Total war and attempts to retreat from this in the early 1920s.
  • Postwar independence movements
  • The First World War and the creation of the modern Middle East
  • The impact of continuity on British national attitudes
  • The First World War in the twenty first century
  • Unknown Warriors: the creation of mass memorials
  • Memorial traditions in different cultures and territories
  • The changing heroic ideal
  • War and the changed roles and positions of women, and not just in the industrial states.
  • Influenza, a pandemic and the single largest demographic disaster of the 20th century. To what extent the flu was a result of the war?

Format

We invite proposals for workshops, 20-minute papers, performances, or posters. Other creative responses or discussion and debate formats will also be considered.

Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032
Persian man posing for a photograph. Note a truck with British troops in the background. The Service of the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Persian Campaign, 1918. IWM Q 73032

We accept applications from individuals, community groups and academic researchers from any discipline, with an interest in relevant topics. The Centre would particularly welcome proposals that involve collaborations between community groups and academics.

Please send a brief description of no more than 300 words outlining the topic you wish to share and your preferred format of presentation.

Submissions should be made to hiddenhistories@nottingham.ac.uk by 29th January 2016.

Informal enquiries welcome.

 

Dissenting Voices and the Everyday in the First World War

Dissenting Voices and the Everyday in the First World War

Contribute to a lively exchange of ideas at this three-day event at The National Archives

 

8-10 September 2016

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This three-day conference will examine the Home Front during the First World War. It will look at those who were left behind, and explore life and society in the immediate aftermath of the war.

 

The conference will bring together academics, independent researchers, community groups and museum curators, among others, to generate dynamic discussion and networking opportunities. The event provides an opportunity for delegates to showcase recent research, foster new collaborations across the country and between different groups of researchers.

 

The conference is organised by The National Archives and the Everyday Lives in War Engagement Centre, on behalf of the five national World War One Engagement Centres funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

 

We welcome contributions from researchers working on the topics listed below.

 

Themes

The conference will explore four major themes:

 

  • Life on the home front(s)
    We are looking for contributions with an international as well as a British angle.
  • Dissent
    As well as conscientious objection and political agitation, we also want the conference to explore the subtleties of dissent socially, religiously, and culturally.
  • Aftermath
    We want to explore such issues as cultural memory, as well as immediate matters such as post-war riots, gender relations, food, and housing.
  • The unfamiliar
    We are interested in exploring the less well-known aspects of dissent and everyday life, including the value of little-used sources and the interpretation of unusual artefacts associated with the First World War.

 

We encourage proposals that speak to one of these themes from the perspective of any geographical location. Potential topics include, but are not limited to,

  • Political
    • MI5 workers
    • Radical political activism
    • Government responses to dissent
    • Female suffrage
    • Workers’ rights/unionismRussians460

 

  • Religious
    • Spiritualism
    • Christian Science responses to war
    • Prophecy
    • Religious pacifism

 

  • Social and cultural
    • Theatre and entertainment
    • Disorder – e.g. food riots in 1919 – Luton Town Hall burned down.
    • Profiteering
    • Hoarding
    • Problems with First World War pensions
    • Fortune-telling
    • Advertising
    • Newspaper reportage
    • Alien, prisoner and refugee life
    • Comedy/satire (music hall, literary, cartoons etc)
  • Gender
    • Fashion (men and women)
    • Female suffrage
    • Female farm and factory work
    • Children and role modelling (male and female)
    • Choosing motherhood and non-childbearing lives in war and after
  • Material culture
    • Graffiti
    • Pension records
    • Internment camp magazines
    • Registration cards, Belgian refugees
    • School logbooks
    • Photography
    • Food
    • Marketing and advertising

 

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Format

We invite proposals for presentations that take the form of group discussions, workshops, 20-minute talks, performances, or posters. Guidelines and a workshop on creating an effecti

ve poster will be offered in advance for those considering this format.

Interested in participating?

We accept applications from individuals (whom we will then match to others working on similar topics), and from groups who wish to propose their own panel and involve relevant academics. We invite academics to present with independent and community group researchers. No affiliation to an academic institution is required to submit an application.

Please send a brief description of no more than 300 words outlining the topic you wish to share and your preferred format of presentation (i.e. round-table, talk, workshop, performance or poster).

Closing Date: 15 October 2015

Proposals should be emailed to: firstworldwar@herts.ac.uk

Enquiries can be directed to: Owen Davies, The University of Hertfordshire or Jessamy Carlson, The National Archives

Interested in attending?

Tickets will be on sale from early 2016

Free Event: Family History at the University of Nottingham

FHDIt’s a familiar tale — an ancient family album filled with black and white photographs, yellowed and dog-eared with age, the faces of young men and women in uniform gazing proudly from the pages.

The problem is the only people who knew them in life have long since passed away, often taking the many stories of these brave ancestors to their grave.

Now, The University of Nottingham is to offer a helping hand to people interested in finding out more about the part their family may have played in the First World War at a free community open day later this month.

Hidden Histories — First World War Family History Day will take place on University Park campus on Tuesday July 21 and will feature a range of speakers who will share their expertise and offer beginners tips and advice on how to make the best start in researching their past.

Keynote speakers for the day include:

  • A representative from the Imperial War Museum who will talk about the museum’s Lives of the First World War — an online resource which offers the opportunity to commemorate service men and women through a mix of official records, photographs and personal testaments
  • Anne-Marie Kramer, a lecturer in The University of Nottingham’s School of Sociology and Social Policy, who will speak about the development and use of family history
  • Professor Kurt Barling who will offer insight into the Middlesex Family History Project, which is seeking family stories and photographs of those who served in the Middlesex Regiment from their descendants
  • East Midlands Oral History Archive, which has been gathering oral histories of the home front in Leicestershire and Rutland during the First World War
  • Nottinghamshire Archives, home to the World War I: Nottinghamshire Memorials Project, a resource commemorating local soldiers who fought and died in ‘Flanders Fields’.

The event will also feature exhibitions from the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections department and Laxton History Project.

The Hidden Histories — First World War Family History Day takes place on Tuesday July 21 from 9.30am to 4.30pm in the Department of History, Lenton Grove and the Digital Humanities Centre on University Park Campus. A buffet lunch is included in the day.

The event is completely free but it is essential that those interested in attending register online beforehand.

The Revolution in Family History

IWM Private_TickleRecent years have seen a revolution in family history and amateur genealogy. The possibilities created by broadband internet, the digitisation of official and parish records and the advent of crowdsourcing have created an unprecedented boom in the pursuit of private histories. The popularity of programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? testifies to the the mainstream success of this once esoteric hobby. It has given more people a basic grounding in historical enquiry, and has encouraged the development of skills such as research, paleography and metadata tagging. It also has led to the creation of mini-archives, comprising collections of documents, photographs, artefacts and secondary material such as family trees and published (traditionally and online) material.

The Centenary of the First World War is the first major test of this ‘New Genealogy’. There are several reasons why. The war was such a landmark event, both in terms of national and international histories and for people’s family and personal lives. Generally people retain items that reflect landmark events in their lives –weddings, births of children and so on. The war was one such landmark event that happened to occur to millions of people at the same time.

In addition, the organisational demands of the two world wars form key nodes in personal history searches. Regimental records, war graves and the like provide ‘informational landmarks’ that amateur researchers use to navigate their way through the past. The mass mobilisation meant that for many people, lives that had hitherto been almost anonymous appear in aggregated records. Records that are often now accessible from the amateur researcher’s own home.

The centenary of the First World War is therefore operating as a ‘meta-informational landmark’. The enhanced focus that the centenary provides will create new interest and new opportunities. Projects such as the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War and the National Archives/IWM Operation: War Diary are not only giving people a chance to get involved in genealogical activities, they’re using some of the very techniques that have been developed during this revolution. The question remains, how can we make the revolution useful?

lives-of-the-first-world-war-300x300During the course of our project we have encountered people who have undertaken such research and who have gathered documents, photographs and other artefacts. They are often older members of the household who have embarked on their project in retirement and have been motivated to do so because they have a personal memory of some of the individuals concerned, assuming a combatant birth year range of c1868-1902. As this generation ages, we will encounter a ‘succession problem’ of what to do with such collections that are too small and/or esoteric to be absorbed into mainstream collections. A related issue is the atomised nature of these items. They reside in spare rooms, on living room walls and in attics and could be hiding information useful to professional historians. These archives, a combination of documentary information and material artefacts are of intense personal value to the people who have carefully curated them. But they have other value too. They are of use to professional historians who can use them in aggregate to build a picture of the social past.

Our aim is to develop activities that make use of the grassroots knowledge of community groups and individuals and the context-placing ability of professionals. For the amateur curators, the advantage would be in seeing their cherished material placed in its proper context. For the professionals, it would be access to the material that has been gathered. Furthermore, we work in partnership with local archives and record offices and national projects, such as the ones already named, to ensure that the material is also made available to the wider public.

We will shortly be launching our Family History Event, with the aim of seeking answers to some of these questions. Watch this space for details.

In the meantime, you may wish to look at Who Do You Think You Are Live, which runs until Saturday.