Call for Papers: War volunteering from the 19th to the 21st century/ Conference organised by the Collaborative Research Center 'War experience - War and Society in Modern Times, University of Tuebingen, at Blaubeuren, 6-8 September 2007
War volunteering has been an important phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the volunteers, particularly of the anti-Napoleonic wars and the First World War, but also of other wars such as the Spanish Civil War, have become part of the public memory of the involved countries. Yet war volunteering as a general phenomenon has attracted surprisingly little scholarly attention, even though not only conscription, but also the existence of volunteers was a characteristic feature of many wars in the last two centuries. Neither long-term studies nor comparative analyses of volunteering in Modern European History exist. And while it has become increasingly clear that volunteers were not necessarily the young, educated, male patriots as propaganda used to portray them, we still need considerable research into the numbers, motivations, social backgrounds, military uses and experiences of war volunteers in the various wars between the early nineteenth century and today. The conference seeks to address this gap by bringing together both established and emerging scholars who work on aspects of volunteering in the various wars during this time span. The conference will focus on European wars, but we would also welcome extra-European topics.
While the majority of papers has already been assigned to distinguished speakers from all over the world, we would like to complement our list with interesting researchers from all relevant disciplines. We therefore invite proposals that address any of the following topics:
- Concepts and definitions of “volunteering”; War typology and volunteering
What were the criteria for a soldier to be called a volunteer? How were volunteers distinguished from mercenaries or partisans for example? In which wars did volunteers play an important part? Can specific characteristics be determined which bind these wars together?
In how far was volunteering a specifically “modern” phenomenon?
- Motivations for and social dimensions of volunteering
Who volunteered for war? What was the social background of the volunteers in different wars? What was the role of patriotism/nationalism, religion or other ideologies as a motive for volunteering, and what other motives (money, adventure, escape from normality, peer pressure, political aims, desire to kill, etc.?) formed the basis for the decision to volunteer? Can motives clearly be discerned?
- The impact of volunteering on war experiences and their post-war interpretation
How were volunteers perceived in societies at war and in post-war societies? How did volunteers deal with victory, defeat or the death of their peers? Were there special commemorations for volunteers, in the form of memorials, books or poems? Did volunteering enhance professional or political careers?
- Volunteering and concepts of masculinity/ femininity
In which ways did images of masculinity influence volunteering? What were the specific experiences of female volunteers, how did they interpret their volunteering, and in which ways did contemporaries react to female volunteers?
- Concepts of nation, citizenship, war etc. that informed volunteering
Was volunteering connected to specific concepts of citizenship, to specific definitions of nationhood or nationality? How did volunteers interpret and justify the war they were supporting? What were the motives and experiences of volunteers who fought for other nations than their own?
- (Military) Education, long-term mentalities and volunteering:
What was the impact of educational institutions, military pageantry, organisations for the military training of youths (boy scouts etc), literature? Did societies characterised by historians as “militarised” produce more volunteers than others?
- Minorities and Volunteering
War volunteering was often seen by minorities as a way to improve their claim to full citizenship and equality, such as for example German Jews or blacks in the US. What exactly were the specific aims and expectations of such volunteers? What were the consequences of their engagement? Were they accepted by the majority society? How did the state/society respond to their offerings?
While the conference is primarily concerned with wars, proposals regarding military volunteers in peacetime will also be considered.
Please send an abstract in English or German of no more than 500 words and a short CV both to email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org. The conference language will be English. The publication of the conference papers as a collected volume is envisaged. Meals and accommodation will be provided free of charge for all speakers and travel costs from within Germany will be refunded. Travel costs from outside Germany will be refunded up to a certain limit. Please contact the organizers for further details.
Dr. Sonja Levsen
SFB: "War experience - War and Society in Modern Times"
D- 72074 Tuebingen, Germany
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