The Great War could neither have been fought nor won without scientific knowledge. Academic expertise in various fields, from history and law to chemistry and medicine, proved crucial to its prosecution. New links were forged with government that would alter forever the ways in which universities functioned and their relationship with the state. As communities, universities were at the heart of the societal and cultural mobilization for the war (through the activities of their staff, the roles played by students and alumni and the use of university facilities for hospitals, public meetings and war-time education). In some cases they sheltered opposition to the war. Academics and universities also played an important role in defining the meaning of the war and refashioned the very notion of international communities of scholarship in order to take account of the polarization produced by the conflict. In this, they foreshadowed the political engagement of learning that would become a marked feature of the ‘short twentieth century.’ For all these reasons, the war cast a long shadow over attempts to return to some kind of ‘normality’ once the conflict was over.
The Academic World in the Era of the Great War is a major international conference that will address these issues. Co-organised by the Centre for War Studies at Trinity College Dublin and the Centre canadien des études allemandes et européennes at the Université de Montréal, it will be held at Trinity College Dublin on August 15th-16th 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. It will be the first attempt to examine this subject systematically and in a comparative and trans-national fashion. It is hoped that it will result in an innovative edited volume. The conference will be inter-disciplinary, and the organisers welcome submissions from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
While the conference will address a broad range of questions, particularly relevant are:
1. How did engagement in the Great War impact the development of different disciplines?
2. How did the mobilization of academic expertise into growing state bureaucracies shape the relationship between higher education and the state?
3. How did the war change the relationship between scholarship and industry?
4. How did scholarly engagement in war-related issues challenge traditional understandings of academic function and academic freedom?
5. What impact did war have upon the international community of scholars which had flourished before 1914? How did academics deal with the breakdown in international relations, and what mediating techniques were utilised?
6. How was scholarship utilised to achieve a lasting peace and how were academics used as agents of demobilization?
7. How did the war impact student life and identity?
8. To what extent did the war change traditional gender roles in academic communities?
9. In what ways did academic communities nurture pacifism?
Proposals should include the following elements, preferably in PDF format
1. A one page abstract of the proposed paper, including the title and an overview of the argument, as well as indicating whether you have any audio-visual requirements.
2. A one page C.V.
Submission of proposals
Please submit abstracts to the following email address: email@example.com no later than the 31st of July 2013
Marie-Eve Chagnon, Université de Montréal
Tomás Irish, Trinity College Dublin
Andrew Barros, Université du Québec à Montréal
Martha Hanna, University of Colorado, Boulder
John Horne, Trinity College Dublin
Norman Ingram, Concordia University, Montréal
Alan Kramer, Trinity College Dublin
William Mulligan, University College Dublin
Jay Winter, Yale University