Call for Papers: Images of Remembrance and the Construction of Memories, The Legacy of the First World War in Central Europe (1918-1939)

News from Mar 25, 2019

Numerous publications, written from different perspectives and different academic disciplines,
appeared during the centenary years of 2014 to 2018, consolidating the image of the First
World War as one of the most significant turning points of the twentieth century. European
societies were unsettled by the war events, the hitherto unprecedented escalation of violence,
deprivation and hardship as well as by political and revolutionary repercussions in the aftermath
of the collapsing multi-ethnic empires and the subsequent rise of the concept of the nation
state. These developments needed to be processed and given meaning at both the collective
and individual levels that were expressed by several commemorative narratives or cultures in
the interwar period. The process of remembering and rendering meaning was the basis of
different war interpretations that turned into various divergent stereotypes remaining effective
far beyond the historical watershed of 1945. Historians and other scholars have investigated
several aspects and both male and female actors – albeit the latter to a lesser extent – of war
remembrance. However, a systematic and comparative synopsis that takes into account
different social, ethnic, religious and political groups as well as gender specific issues for entire
Central Europe is still missing.


The conference “Images of Remembrance and the Construction of Memories. The Legacy of
the First World War in Central Europe (1918–1939)” focuses on different aspects and practices
of war remembrance in Central Europe on the territory of the former Habsburg Monarchy and
its successor states. However, for the purpose of a comparative perspective, case studies on
other European regions are also welcome. The temporal emphasis is on the interwar-period
when war remembrance was constituted.


We are looking for contributions that apply theoretically and methodologically innovative
approaches from the new cultural and military history, memory studies, women’s and gender
history as well as the field of interdisciplinary research. The papers should emphasise either on
relevant male and female actors who represented different cultures of remembrance or on how
these cultures were hierarchized within the framework of mechanisms of inclusion and
exclusion in terms of the public hegemonic commemoration of the war. Which political and
social formation, stabilisation and medialisation processes of remembrance can be identified?
Who promoted or rather propelled which kind of war remembrance and by what means? Which
narratives were ignored in these processes? Which types of media played a decisive role?
We also welcome contributions that examine how war memories were interpreted and
instrumentalised over the course of time. Winners and losers of the bygone war prospectively
invoked different memories for their own purposes. It is necessary to ask when and for whom
the war was a point of reference and what argumentation strategies were used. We aim to
bring together papers that not only emphasise on publically visible and dominant groups but
also on the “silent masses”, that is on small-scale, local and private war memories which have
not yet been adequately researched. What can we find out about the war remembrance of
different social groups that remained in the shadow of the public’s collective memories, a topic
which has been widely neglected by historical research for a long time? What role do categories
such as gender, ethnicity and religion play in this respect?


Finally, the conference also intends to make regional and international comparisons in order to
highlight similarities and differences of local, regional and national narratives and strategies of
war remembrance in Central Europe.


Scholars of relevant disciplines are invited to submit an abstract, either in German or English
(300 words max.), and a short biography until 31 March 2019 to regional.history@unibz.it.
Conference languages are German and English, simultaneous translation will be provided.
The conference will take place at the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano (Faculty of Education in
Brixen/Bressanone) from 7 to 8 November 2019. We will try to reimburse travel and
accommodation expenses of all contributors.


Concept: Christa Hämmerle, Gerald Lamprecht, Oswald Überegger


The conference is organised by the Competence Centre for Regional History of the Free
University of Bozen/Bolzano, the Department of History of the University of Vienna and the
Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Graz.

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