Landscapes of the Great War: imagination, representation, experience

Landscapes of the Great War: imagination, representation, experience

International Society for First World War Studies
Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Università di Padova
Trento, Padova
Vom - Bis
30.11.2014 -
Martina Salvante

The 8th International Conference of the International Society for First World War Studies will explore the theme of “Landscapes of War”.

In recent years scholars have sought to move towards a global history of the Great War, focusing on the geographical scope and diversity of the conflict, from Flanders to the Caucasus, the Alps to East Africa, from the Mediterranean to the oceans.

This conference will focus on the physical spaces in which the war took place across the many different theatres of war, and the ways in which these diverse landscapes were encountered, altered, imagined, experienced, represented and remembered. How did the physical characteristics of the various battlegrounds impact on military strategies and manoeuvres? How did men, women and children interpret the landscape? How did generals, soldiers, prisoners, workers, farmers, reporters, artists, architects, tourists and others interact with the landscapes of the war? How does the study of the landscape enhance our understanding of the military, political, economic, social and cultural history of the conflict?

In line with the traditions of the International Society for First World War Studies, the conference aims to focus on new and innovative research, bringing together graduate students and post-doctoral scholars with established academics. The Society aims to foster dialogue between historians of all methodological approaches and geographical areas.

Possible themes include:
− the military and operational impact of the terrain
− diverse landscapes of war: from the mountains to the desert, the plains to the sea
− the modification, pollution and destruction of landscapes by human interventions
− cityscapes and urban landscapes during and after the war
− prisoners of war and landscapes
− landscapes of war imagined, described and depicted
− the study of landscape: cartography, geography and the natural sciences
− landscapes of war behind the lines: transit and rest areas, training camps
− landscapes after battle: ruins, traces, memories and reconstruction
− battlefield tourism and cultural heritage
− landscapes and nation: real or imagined relationships between territory and nationality
− the productive landscape: agriculture and wartime production, distribution of resources, deprivation and conflicts over food.


Applicants are asked to submit a 300-word abstract in English or Italian, accompanied by a short CV, to by 30 November 2014.

Successful applicants will be notified by January 2015 and must submit their paper electronically by 30 June 2015.

In order to maximise discussion time, all conference papers will be circulated in advance and discussed by panellists before the debate is opened to the audience.

Papers may be submitted in English, Italian, French or German, but the working languages of the conference will be English and Italian, with simultaneous interpreting available. Participants who submit papers in languages other than English or Italian will be asked to also send a 3-page summary in English. As in previous years, a selection of papers will be published in English after the conference.

The conference will take place over three days (10-12 September 2015), with the first and third days devoted to academic presentations and discussions. In order to give participants a direct experience of one highly significant landscape, the second day will consist of an organised visit to the Asiago Plateau, where the keynote address will be held.

The opening day of the conference will be hosted by the Bruno Kessler Institute in Trento, and the closing day by the University of Padua, with an organised coach transfer via Asiago on the intermediate day. The transfer will be free of charge for all registered delegates. Information on accommodation in Trento (for the first night) and Padua (for the second) will be circulated to confirmed participants in January 2015.

A limited number of bursaries for travel and accommodation will be available for participants whose institution does not provide conference funding. Applicants should please indicate whether they would like to request financial support.

For further information, please contact

Organizing committee:
Roberto Bianchi, University of Florence
Selena Daly, University College Dublin
Marco Mondini, Italian-German Historical Institute, Trento and University of Padua
Martina Salvante, Interuniversity Centre for Historical-Military Research, Italy
Vanda Wilcox, John Cabot University, Rome


Organizing committee