[Msa-discuss] cfp Intellectuals and the Great War, Ghent University, 17-19 December 2014

Sarah Posman Sarah.Posman at ugent.be
Tue Nov 19 10:25:06 EST 2013

*Intellectuals & the Great War *

An International Conference.
Ghent University, December 17-19, 2014

Ghent University announces a First World War conference, scheduled to 
take place from 17-19 December 2014. The focus of this international 
scholarly gathering is on the role of the intellectual in the First 
World War. It aims to explore the ways in which intellectuals, working 
in different fields and contexts, dealt with the strain, the shock and 
the aftermath of WWI. We invite papers that look into the position of 
the university during the war; the ways in which academia and the 'monde 
international des esprits' dealt with the issue of action and 
commitment, and what it meant for thinkers to be confronted with the 
physical aspects of war. In the vast field of WWI studies, relatively 
little attention has been devoted to the role of the intellectual. When 
this topic has been tackled the debate rarely reached a transnational, 
multidisciplinary level. In bringing together scholars from different 
academic and national backgrounds, the 2014 Ghent conference seeks to do 
justice to the many faces of the intellectual during WWI and wants to 
trace what the scholarly world now owes to them. We aim to address the 
strategies and narratives of both the Entente and Central European 
intellectuals, of both patriots and collaborators in occupied territories.

The Great War broke out at a time of educational reform. Due to 
demographic changes and social reforms the early twentieth century 
speeded up the democratization of higher education, which had slowly 
begun in the second half of the nineteenth century. The fact that 
colleges started to open their doors to men and, in some cases women, 
from different social backgrounds changed the profile of the 
intellectual, from armchair scholar to public figure and intrepid 
adventurer. The impact of the First World War on this development cannot 
be overestimated. Those not out on the battlefield had to confront the 
questions if and how to contribute and react. In which ways did the 
events influence innovative developments, within the fields of the 
sciences, philosophy, literature and the arts? In which ways was the 
question how to make sense of the broken minds, the many maimed and dead 
bodies dealt with across disciplines? What survives today of the 
insights or techniques that question yielded? How do 
twenty-first-century intellectuals, engage in writing and rewriting the 
history of 1914-1918, look back on the attempts of our peers to mobilize 
their minds and bodies? More specifically, the conference proposes four 
avenues, with four intellectual disciplines, for discussion:

·*Science *


The positioning of the academic and scientific world at large during the 
First World War is this section's focus. We also welcome papers that 
seek to find an answer to what it meant to be an academic at the time, 
both intellectually and practically. We are interested in the 
legitimization of scientific and technological progress made in service 
of the war effort. Finally, we also invite papers that aim to understand 
the impact in terms of continuity and discontinuity of the First World 
War and the Russian Revolution on the transnational circulation of ideas 
and cultural goods. We encourage proposals that deal with the individual 
life-story of scientists, engineers, social and human scientists, to 
open up to a larger perspective.

·*Literature *


In this section we want to explore the impact of the Great War on early 
twentieth-century as well contemporary literature. Possible topics 
include: WWI as a period of literary innovation; the production and 
reception of patriotic and non-pacifist texts; the image of war poets as 
"doomed youth"; generation gaps in the war effort; the production of 
nationalist literature before, during, and after the war; the decision 
for authors whether to swell the ranks or to comment from the sideline; 
the ideal of heroism; the employment of women in factories and other 
previously male domains; the formation of new social norms in 
masculinity and femininity; war poetry by female writers and its 
exclusion from anthologies until after 1980; nature and the countryside 
as a scene of war and peace; the representation of trauma during and 
after the War Effort.

·*Philosophy *


Paper proposals that deal with any aspect of philosophy's relationship 
to the First World War and its reception among philosophers are welcome. 
Topics could include the role of the war in the thought (and lives of) 
particular philosophers (e.g. Wittgenstein, Otto Neurath, Carnap, 
Bergson, Russell, Reinach, Eucken, etc). We are especially interested in 
papers that explore the role of the war in the rise (and decline) of 
philosophical movements (analytic philosophy, phenomenology, 
/Lebensphilosophie/, positivism) and their broader relationship to 
larger intellectual and political movements. We also welcome 
contributions that deal with the philosophy and morality of mass war and 
that trace the ways in which current debate in ethics relates to 
1914-1918, with the use of arms, with the philosophy of history, and 
with the social responsibility, if any, of intellectuals.

·*Artists and architects*


Paper proposals dealing with the following themes are welcomed: The 
Great War as artistic motif; the war as catalyst for the development of 
new artistic currents as well as for the rise of a new type of artist 
coping with industrial modernity; the use of visual media in the war 
effort; the relation between the arts and new war-related visual 
practices (such as aerial photography or camouflage techniques); 
industrial warfare as a nihilist "Gesamtkunstwerk" in relation to 
avant-garde currents such as Futurism and Dada; the development of new 
international contacts and forms of collaboration among artists within 
pacifist circles in exile; architectural conferences and education of 
architects abroad; exiles returning to their home country; confrontation 
of local and international ideas about rebuilding the country ; et cetera.

Proposals for 20-minute papers are due via email 
(intellectualsandthegreatwar at gmail.com) by Feb 1, 2014, and should take 
the form of a 1-page abstract accompanied by a short CV; in the case of 
complete panels, proposals should consist of an abstract and short CV 
for every panelist together with a short CV for the chair (if different).

The conference will be held from December 17-19, 2014 at Het Pand, 
Onderbergen 1, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. We welcome papers in English, 
French, German, and Dutch.

For more information please visit the conference website: 

*Keynote speakers:*

1.Christophe Prochasson and Anne Rasmussen (EHESS) authors of /Au nom de 
la patrie. //Les intellectuels et la Première Guerre mondiale (1910-1919)./


2.Santanu Das, Senior Lecturer at the University of London, author of 
/Touch and intimacy in First World War/ /literature/ and /Race, Empire 
and First World War Writing/. //


3.Roy MacLeod, Professor Emeritus of (Modern) History at the University 
of Sydney, and an Honorary Associate in the History and Philosophy of 
Science.Author of 'The Scientists Go to War: Revisiting Precept and 
Practice, 1914-1919', Journal of War and Culture Studies, 2 (1), (2009), 
37-51, and 'Science and Scientists,' Jay Winter (ed.) Cambridge History 
of the First World War Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 
vol. 5, 434-459, 704-708. //


4.Annette Becker, at l'Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and 
senior member of l'Institut universitaire de France. She is the author, 
with Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, of /1914-1918, Retrouver la guerre 
/(Gallimard, 2000).//


5.Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Pennsylvania State University, author of /De 
Groote Oorlog - Het Koninkrijk België tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog 


A *public evening lecture *by Stefan Hertmans will be organized in 
collaboration with Vooruit.

*Local organizing committee: *

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Biebuyck, UGent

Prof. Dr. Jean Bourgeois, UGent

Prof.**Dr. Marysa Demoor, UGent

Prof. Dr. Bruno De Wever, UGent

Prof. Dr. Steven Jacobs, UGent

Prof. Dr. Eric Schliesser, UGent

Prof. Dr. Pierre Schoentjes, UGent

Prof. Dr. Marjan Sterckx, UGent

Prof. Dr. Yves T'Sjoen, UGent

Prof. Dr. Hans Vandevoorde, VUB

Prof. Dr. Christophe Verbruggen, UGent

Dr. Sarah Posman, UGent

Dr. Pieter Uyttenhove, UGent

Dr. Antoon Vrints, UGent

With the support of theResearch unit Social History since 1750 
(Department of History), Sarton Centre for the History of Science, the 
Department of Art History, Literature, Philosophy, Archeology, 
Communication Sciences, Architecture and Urban Planning.

*International scientific committee:*

Prof. Dr. Nicolas Beaupré (Université Blaise Pascal Clermont Ferrand)

Prof. Dr. Marnix Beyen (Universiteit Antwerpen)

Prof. Dr. Benoit Majerus (Université du Luxembourg)

Prof. Dr. Hubert Roland (UCL)

Prof. Dr. Leonard V. Smith (Oberlin College)

Prof. Dr. Laurence Van Ypersele (UCL),

Dr. Stefan Goebel (Kent)

Dr. Sarah Posman (FWO)
Ghent University, English Lit.
Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Ghent, BELGIUM

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