Konferenz über Friedensvorstellungen im Ersten Weltkrieg

Der Arbeitskreis Historische Friedensforschung, das  Centre for Peace History an der Universität Sheffield und das Erich Maria Remarque-Friedenszentrum in Osnabrück organisieren eine Konferenz über

Friedensvorstellungen im Ersten Weltkrieg: Repräsentationen, Medien, politische Visionen in einer vergleichenden Perspektive

Dies ist der Aufruf zum Einsenden von Vorschlägen:

Call for Papers: Imagining Peace in the First World War. Representations-Media-Political Visions in Comparative Perspective

International Conference, organised by the Association for Historical Peace Research, the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre in Osnabrück, and the Centre for Peace History at the University of Sheffield

Date: 4-6 July 2014 Place: Osnabrück


The First World brought mass violence and killing on a scale and scope that was unprecedented at least in the modern era. Modern technology and the social and ideological mobilization of whole societies contributed to a protracted war that had corrosive effects on the social fabric of civil society and unleashed a wave of annexationist and militarized fantasies. Yet at the same time, the Great War also ushered in a new era of visions for a peaceful social and political order. As the rolling thunder of the cannon at the front continued, an increasing number of people – from avant-garde artists to first-wave feminists, labour movement activists and Christian priests and laity – thought and fantasized about a social order that would silence the weapons and would be able to protect the livelihood of the people. Some of these visions were a form of escapism, some were outright pacifist or socialist, others were just a brutal mockery of a seemingly apocalyptic present. If there was a unifying thread to these highly diverse imaginations, blueprints and political visions, it was a sense of hope that things could change to the better, and an anxious expectation that a core of human integrity could be salvaged from the disaster.

The international conference will investigate those representations, media and political visions which registered and articulated glimpses, anticipations and full-fledged projects for a world beyond the carnage of war. The immediate focus of the conference is on the war itself, the years from 1914 to 1918 – or in Eastern European regions rather 1914 to 1921 –, but papers on the immediate post-war period are welcome. The conference takes a comparative approach, covering a broad range of countries in Eastern and Western Europe and North America, and inviting both papers that are comparative, and those which cover one particular country, region or group.

Structure of the Conference

The organizers of the conference anticipate papers in three different fields or sections, although this structure is only tentative, and should certainly not limit the range of possible submissions.

I. Political Visions for a Peaceful World

This section is interested in those blueprints and programmes which outlined new social and political configurations for a peaceful post-war world. How did pacifists, feminists of different political orientations, and socialists envisage rebuilding society after the catastrophe of war? Which religious notions of peace and harmony were developed by bishops, priests, rabbis and members of the laity? Which visions and notions of peace did ordinary front-line soldiers develop? Where there repercussions and connections between high-level political programmes and the hopes of socialist or democratic grassroots activists? Papers in this section could also discuss how nationalist intellectuals and movements in East-Central and Eastern Europe combined blueprints for national renewal with visions for peace in the framework of a (re-)established nation-state.

II. Media and the Texture of Non-Violence

The papers in this section will investigate how different media of communication and artistic expression have shaped visions for a non-violence future. Among other media, they will look at poetry and narrative texts, explore postcards, photography and visual art. How did these media identify and portray the potential of peaceful regimes of life? How did the materiality of the respective media shape the texture of visions for non-violence, for instance: how was photography able to represent social or natural spaces which facilitated or equalled “peace”?

III. Social Configurations and the Gendering of Peace

During the Great War as in other conflicts, hopes for the rebuilding of a war-torn society often rested on small-scale configurations, on the family, neighbourhood or village community. The intimacy of face-to-face contacts was highlighted as a retreat from the brutal machinery of war. Many of these more intimate configurations were based on gendered notions of civility and peacefulness. The papers in this section will look at the intersections of gender and non-violent social configurations at different levels, and investigate the gendered attributes of a peaceful post-war world.


Papers at the conference will be oral presentations of no more than 25 minutes. Following a process of peer-review, the revised and expanded papers will be published in a volume in the series of the Association for Historical Peace Research (AkHF). We will seek funding to cover travel and accommodation costs for speakers, but cannot guarantee complete reimbursement at this stage.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of your paper (no more than 200 words) and a one-page short CV as a Word-Document to both of the following: PD Dr Thomas Schneider, Erich Maria Remarque Peace Centre, email: remarque-zentrum@uos.de; Professor Benjamin Ziemann, University of Sheffield, Department of History, email: b.ziemann@sheffield.ac.uk

Informal enquiries can be directed to Thomas Schneider and Benjamin Ziemann.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 10 January 2013