Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Mobilizing Identities/Identities in Motion through the First World War: History, Representations, and Memory

On a transnational basis, mobilization during the First World War was a major process of material and imaginative engagement unfolding on a military, economic, political and cultural level. Not only were mass armies, supplies and resources raised: sets of values, beliefs and representations underlying the life of national communities played a crucial role in securing consensus and commitment of both specific social groups and individuals. However, this massive cultural circulation cannot be considered just as a top-down process imposed by state agencies onto passive recipients: both pre-war culture and striking voluntary forms of full engagement and participation in the war hybridized with and reacted to the official paths of mobilization, opening up a dynamic space of floating cultural materials. Political, national, cultural, and gender identities were dramatically challenged and questioned by the whirl of discourses and representations that called to mobilization. Accordingly, existing identities were mobilized in a twofold sense: they were urged to respond actively and concretely to the war and they were also symbolically put in motion by it, that is, confronted with unsettlement and reshaping.

The aim of this conference is to gather together scholars in a diverse range of disciplines (history, classics, philosophy, literary and cultural studies) and discuss to what extent and how the war, its representations and its contemporary memory, can be considered as a laboratory for testing identities at large.

This conference is generously funded by the European Commission (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions), the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Edinburgh (Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund), the Department of European Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Edinburgh.

Concept and organisation: Cristina Savettieri, Federica Pedriali

Conference assistants: Eugenio Cannovale, Domenico Crea, Carolina Rossi

Enquiries: Cristina.Savettieri@ed.ac.uk

Programme

Thursday 11th of May 2017 - Day session

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures - Project Room 1.06

Time Title Speaker
09.00-10.00 Welcome and coffee  
10.00-10.10 Opening remarks  
10.10-11.30 Art and Politics  
The Artist as Veteran: Artistic Identities and Politics in Post-World War I Italy Simona Storchi (University of Leicester)
‘Moderate Futurism’ and the shifting identities of the Futurists at war Selena Daly (University College Dublin)
11.30-11.50 Coffee break  
11.50-13.10 Intellectuals at war  
Hellenic Idealism in WW1: from Gilbert Murray to the Union of Democratic Control Elizabeth Pender (University of Leeds)
Allied identity? André Maurois’ experience of the First World War Franziska Heimburger (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
13.10-14.30 Lunch  
14.30-15.15 War and Biopolitics  
  Puer Sacer and Destination No Man’s Land Federica Pedriali (University of Edinburgh)
15.15-15.30 Closing remarks  

Thursday 11th of May 2017 - Evening session

Scottish Parliament - Committee Room 1

     
17.30 Opening of the Exhibition - WW1 Landscapes ECA Masters students
17.30-19.30 Nationhood and Nationalism Today - A public debate Angie Hobbs, Thomas Devine

Friday 12th of May 2017 - Day session

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures - Project Room 1.06

Time Title Speaker
9.30-10.00 Welcome and coffee  
10.00-11.20 Male Identities  
Brothers in arms, or “the genuine family of my extraordinary youth”. Male bonding in the Italian War Literature Marco Mondini (University of Padua & Italian German Historical Institute)
Gender Trouble in Italian Narratives of Captivity of the First World War Cristina Savettieri (University of Edinburgh)
11.20-11.40 Coffee break  
11.40-13.00 Civilian Mobilization  
Women, Heroism and WW1 Angie Hobbs (University of Sheffield)
Empire, Nation, Race: Contested Identities in Wartime Africa, 1914-1919 Daniel Steinbach (University of Exeter)
13.00-14.20 Lunch  
14.20-15.40 Remembering  
Croatia and the First World War: National Forgetting in a Memorial Shatter Zone Tea Sindbæk Andersen (University of Copenhagen)
Remembering the Great War in Britain: centenaries and the making of modern identities Ross Wilson (University of Chichester)
15.40-15.50 Coffee break  
15.50-16.30 Closing remarks and final discussion  

Friday 12th of May 2017 - Evening session

Italian Cultural Institute

Time Title
17.30 Memoria per l’Europa - An encounter with writer Paolo Rumiz (In Italian and English)

 

Mobilizing Identities conference
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Mobilizing Identities/Identities in Motion through the First World War: History, Representations, and Memory

The aim of this conference is to gather together scholars in a diverse range of disciplines (history, classics, philosophy, literary and cultural studies) and discuss to what extent and how the war, its representations and its contemporary memory, can be considered as a laboratory for testing identities at large.