Languages and the First World War – third conference (2022)

Working title: Beyond the narratives of the First World War

Possible/likely dates 14-15-16 September, 2022, London

The First World War continues to inspire academic research, professional and amateur historians alike, front tourism and a plethora of language use or cultural references in current affairs, not least the pandemic of the Spanish flu towards the end of the war and the corona counterpart a century later.

The centenary period of the First World War saw a growth of scholarship in the field of the linguistic and verbal discourse of the conflict; as a global war involving journalism, a huge amount of forces’ correspondence, propaganda, and the movement of people from different regions and social classes, often from countries and empires with many languages themselves, language was an essential aspect of managing, mediating the experience and, in the aftermath, trying to make sense of the conflict. The third Languages and First World conference (mid-September 2022) aims to extend the reach of the current narratives on the language landscapes of the First World War.

For the third Language and First World War conference, the team is seeking to expand First World War scholarship in relation to its languages and immense linguistic diversity beyond the more traditional narratives:

  • beyond the Western front: any case east of the western front, from Germany over Russia to the Middle East and Far East, and more
  • beyond the nation: diaspora and displacement during and after the war (before also possible if there is a clear connection with at least during and/or after)
  • beyond Armistice: the war was not over on 11.11.1918
  • beyondness in any sense of the word: silence for instance, narratives that are not culturally bolted on anniversaries

In order to have a sense of the way forward, the team is seeking Expressions of Interests. A short email to by 1 November 2021.

  • working title if possible
  • description of the idea in at least 5 sentences
  • countries, nations, regions and locations involved
  • languages involved
  • affiliation
  • confirmation that suggested dates would suit (provide alternatives in the mid-September period if needed)

Based on the Expressions of Interests the team will finalise a call for abstracts by mid-November and/or already aim to commit presenters. The call for abstracts for 20 minute papers will conclude mid-January. People selected for the conference (notification mid-February) will be asked to provide a draft chapter mid-July so that these are available for fellow presenters. A book proposal for a fourth volume will be finalised upon acceptance of abstracts.

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