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Ergebnisanzeige "On the Periphery of the Great War"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelOn the Periphery of the Great War
BeschreibungInternational Conference on “On the Periphery of the Great War”

University of Aveiro - Department of Languages and Cultures - Aveiro - Portugal

Now that the dust is settling on the commemorations of centenary of the outbreak of the 1st World War, it is time to reconsider long-held views about the particular shape and effect of this human-generated cataclysm. One of these is the extent to which, say in comparison with the second great international conflict of the 20th century (1939-45), this truly was a world war. Most academic attention has rightly been focused on the situations on the western and eastern fronts of the conflict in Europe, and the unprecedented carnage which took place there. Indeed, even the popular imagination has no difficulty in conjuring up images of the trenches, of the disastrous collision of flesh and the new technologies of war, and the scale on which these collisions took place. Shock and trauma are testified to in all sorts of political, social and cultural domains, and recently explored in many academic conferences on these themes.

This conference however would like to hold at one remove these painfully familiar images and consider the periphery of the conflict. It is interested in marginal theatres of war, in places where the conflict certainly had an impact but where perhaps that impact was glancing: people trapped in limbo by the war, the war as backcloth to other pressing personal concerns, the war (if this were at all possible) in the corner of people’s eye. These might be places where the war had a somewhat unreal tinge, far from the centre of hostilities but where hostilities nonetheless made themselves felt.

We propose therefore to revisit the Great War and its aftermath, giving particular attention to historical, cultural, artistic and literary representations in the following specific contexts:

1. Peripheral Theatres of War
Minor or apparently minor theatres of war included naval engagements off the coast of South America, the Middle East (the struggle for access to oil) and the campaigns made famous around the figure of Lawrence of Arabia, or in East Africa where it was said to be so hot that no serious war could take place because “we would all melt like ice cream in the sun.” Part of the cause of the war was competition for colonial resources and so the contiguous colonies of European combatants would therefore seem to be a fruitful zone of enquiry, as well as the places which, like Portugal, were at first neutral but which increasingly were drawn into the fray.

2. Transformation of the Great War - the emergence of the modern
A second area of interest for the conference concerns revisiting the impact of the 1st World War on modernity. Much of what we understand as the modern world was generated by 1914-18, in terms of material conditions, of mentalities and of capacity to respond to circumstances. Instances of these developments come readily to mind. Radio went from being (pre-war) a useful method for ships to communicate at sea to becoming the first form of mass broadcast media within 7 years of the end of the war. A similar case could be made for the irresistible march of the aviation industry. The necessities of war over-rode inertia and resistance, made things happen. Mentalities changed too. The establishment of state socialism in Russia occurred with unprecedented rapidity. Conditions, again both material and cognitive, fell into place for the emergence of the so-called Age of the Common Man. Who these common people were and how they behaved was very much part of the flux of the post-war years. Thirdly, the end of the war saw the spectacular return of humanity’s traditional enemy, disease, in the form of the great influenza epidemic of 1918-19. Behind these (and other) events however were the scientists working to understand and master nature, and who (in retrospect) could be said to have achieved a greater measure of control over it than had been enjoyed at any time. Examples abound of procedural and technical breakthroughs in the period 1918-30, some like those in plastic surgery which were the direct consequence of the abundance of war injuries.

3. Dislocated Lives
The period 1914-18 was characterized by millions of separated, divided and estranged families, by relationships in suspension. Many people found themselves displaced and disordered by war, caught in transit, non-combatants in hostile or neutral territory, often asked to take sides, cut off from their homes. When the war ended, these dislocated persons were obliged to return to changed nations, homes, and loved ones. What accounts did these displaced persons, famous and obscure, make of their experiences? How did enforced uprooting, separation and exile affect belonging and identity in the creative arts of the period?

4. Micro-narratives of the war years
Journals, diaries and letters constituted essential human documents registering the impact of the war before the advent of more recent forms of technologised communication. This section of the conference focuses on the personal documentation of war experience, from both the home front and from sites of combat and seeks to clarify how these utterances can alter canonical notions of writing genres. Effectively rejecting approved literary forms and working within an intimist framework, these personal documents clearly interface with and modify better-known and canonically legitimated forms, like the poetry of the Great War. We are also interested in war reporting, as professionals sought to gain access to the zones of conflict and thereby to give more personal and detailed accounts of what was happening. Clearly, the new form and scale of international warfare invited new probing forms of enquiry, just as they risked obfuscation by new forms of propaganda and censorship.

Maria Teresa Cortez
Organizing Committee

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
PersonName: Maria Teresa Cortez 
Funktion: Organizing Committee 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Centro de Línguas, Literaturas e Culturas 
Strasse/Postfach: Campus de Santiago 
Postleitzahl: 3810-193 Aveiro 
Stadt: Aveiro 
Telefon: +351234370358 
SchlüsselbegriffeKomparatistik (Kulturvergleich, Interkulturelle Literaturwissenschaft)
Zusätzliches SuchwortCultural Studies, Geschichte
Klassifikation00.00.00 ohne thematische Zuordnung
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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