The experience of minorities in the First World War is one of the most significant, yet least developed aspects of the conflict’s history. It is now over twenty years since the major conference on ‘National and Racial Minorities in Total War’ which spurred the highly influential volume: Minorities in Wartime. With the centenary of the First World War fast approaching, it seems a particularly appropriate time to revisit this subject.
Over the preceding decades, there have been massive shifts in the writing of ethnic and minority histories, which have started to excavate areas of convergence as well as departure. At the same time, our understanding of the social and military history of the First World War has expanded massively. No longer is the history of the conflict confined largely to the trenches of the Western Front. It now encompasses everything from non-combatants and the home front through to occupation and the memory of war.
The aim of this two-day conference is to mesh recent developments in the military history of the First World War with those in the field of minority studies. We welcome proposals covering any ethnic or national minority group involved in the conflict. There is no limit to geographical area, though we are aiming to focus primarily on the main belligerent nations.
Potential themes and questions may include, but are by no means limited to:
• Minorities as both opponents and enthusiastic supporters of the conflict
• Minorities as prisoners of war
• Racism, antisemitism and exclusionary politics during the conflict
• Religious and ritual practices during the First World War
• The experience of minorities in the armed forces
• The decoration and promotion of soldiers from minority groups
• Responses to colonial troops and their wartime experience
• The treatment of minorities in territory occupied during the war
• Enemy aliens: Internment, repatriation and social hostility
• The remembrance (and forgetting) of minority combatants
Please send abstracts (max 300 words) and a short biography to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 May 2013.
Professor Tony Kushner (University of Southampton)
Professor Humayun Ansari OBE (Royal Holloway)
Venue and Conference Information:
The conference will take place on the 14th and 15th April 2014 at the University of Chester.
Dr Hannah Ewence, Dr Tim Grady and Dr Keith McLay
Department of History and Archeaology
University of Chester
Chester, CH1 4BJ, UK
+44 (0)1244 512151 Email: email@example.com
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