CFP: The Past, the Present and the Future of War and Culture Studies

31 October 2014

Twentieth Anniversary Conference of the Group for War and Culture Studies

University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW, UK
25 and 26 June 2015

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Hilary Footitt, University of Reading, UK and Professor Bill Niven, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Established in 1995, the Group for War and Culture Studies (GWACS) celebrates its twentieth anniversary with a conference to take stock of the development of war and culture studies over the last two decades, to review what has been achieved and to set the research agenda for the short and long term future of the field.

The work of scholars associated with the GWACS is recognised as having played a leading role in developing new approaches to analysing the relationship between war and culture during conflict and its aftermath. War is no longer considered solely a military and political phenomenon but one, which to be understood fully, must be viewed through social and cultural perspectives as well. Research on war is now undertaken across an extremely diverse range of disciplines: cultural history, modern languages, sociology, media studies, literary studies, art history, fine art, cultural studies, memory studies, as well in the more traditional fields of military and political history. At the same time the primary material of war studies has expanded: film, television, photography, song, theatre, poetry and other forms of literature, letters, postcards, diaries, autobiographies and memoirs, posters, landscapes, architecture…and more.  These approaches have changed the methodologies of war studies and this diversity has shown that the impact of war on individuals, groups, and nations is perhaps most fully understood only through the adoption of a ‘cumulative’ history. The accumulation of disparate and often competing interpretations and responses to war is necessary to this understanding which will be most productively enhanced when we further narrow the gaps between the military, technical, political, social, historical and cultural study of war. We still need to develop more adequate cross-disciplinary frameworks within which to analyse the extremely complicated phenomenon that is war, hence the need to look backwards and forwards in order to set the future research agenda.

Proposals are welcomed across the full range of research interests within the remit of the Group for War and Culture Studies and the Journal of War and Culture Studies:

  • the relationship between war and culture during conflict and its aftermath
  • the forms and practices of cultural transmission in time of war
  • the impact of war on cultural production, cultural identity and international cultural relations
  • the comparative, cross-cultural representation of the experiences of war and conflict in cultural productions

Historical scope: wars and conflicts in the modern and contemporary periods (understood as the European modern era, late 18th century to the present day).

Geographical scope: wars and conflicts across world geographical and cultural areas.

Proposals of 350-500 words must be situated clearly within this remit and, beyond the particular object of analysis, must demonstrate a further reflection on the contribution of the analysis and the approach adopted to the continuing development of the broader context of war and culture studies.

Please note that as a major aim of the conference is to set the future research agenda, papers which do not extend their analysis in this way cannot be selected.

Selected papers, subject to the usual journal peer review processes, will be published in two special issues of the Journal of War and Culture Studies in 2016.

Deadline for receipt of proposals to the Organising Committee:

31 January 2015

Please send your proposal to Helene Scott, h.scott@westminster.ac.uk by that date.


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