There is a tendency in research which engages with heroism to employ it as nothing more than a fixed lens through which to study other subjects or concepts, rather than examining it as a subject in its own right. Approaches such as these not only give the impression that heroism is a single, static and rigidly understood idea but they perpetuate the conclusion that heroism is predominantly a masculine, military and most importantly, an uncontested concept. However, recent postgraduate research by historians and other scholars demonstrates that heroism is actually a flexible and adaptable idea which can be assembled or constructed in different ways to serve different purposes. Furthermore, non-military heroism represents an important and central element in the wider discourse on the subject.
The broad objective of this symposium is to bring together leading postgraduate students who are working on non-military heroism and to provide an opportunity for them to present and discuss their research. Here, they will be able to examine and engage with how heroism has been historically conceived, constructed, defined and judged. This environment will allow the students to position their own research within the wider theoretical field, develop their understanding of non-military heroism in a historical context and broaden their knowledge of research materials and analytical approaches.
This innovative and collaborative symposium will also bring together students with representatives from the leading contemporary organisations concerned with defining, assessing and recognising non-military heroism. These representatives will be invited to listen to the academic papers, give a presentation on the work of their organisation and, most importantly, participate in roundtable discussion sessions. This collaboration between research students and contemporary organisations will provide a range of exciting and dynamic opportunities.
This symposium will feature two keynote lectures:
Dr Max Jones (University of Manchester) author of The Last Great Quest, a study of the polar explorer Captain R.F Scott.
Dr Tanja Schult (Stockholm University) author of A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments, a study of monuments dedicated to the Swedish diplomat and humanitarian.
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