Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CFP: Commemorating the Disabled Soldier (Ypres, Belgium, 4-6 November 2013)

[From H-Disability]

Call for papers

Commemorating the disabled soldier: Comparative approaches to the history of war, disability and remembrance, 1914-1940

International conference (Ypres, Belgium, 4th-6th November 2013) & special issue First World War Studies

Organized/edited by Prof. Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven), Dr. Martina Salvante (Trinity College Dublin) & Prof. Julie Anderson (University of Kent) – with the financial support of the Province West-Flanders, the In Flanders Fields Museum, the Centre d’Histoire des Sociétés, des Sciences et des Conflits & the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders.

2014 will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the Great War. On the occasion of this important anniversary the Centre for the History of Education of the KU Leuven (Belgium), the Centre for War Studies of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and the Centre for the History of Medicine of the University of Kent (United Kingdom) propose to organize an international conference aimed at reflecting on the impact of that specific event on soldiers’ bodies and minds. Millions of men all over the globe, in fact, returned home limbless, sightless, deaf, disfigured or mentally distressed.

In the last decades disability history has attracted an increasing interest in the scholarly community, thus becoming a well-established field, which has been highlighting, among others, the experiences of impaired people, medical and rehabilitative techniques, charitable institutions and welfare measures, public reception and private emotions. The First World War has somehow represented a watershed both in the visibility and the treatment of impairment and disablement owing to the massive amount of men who suffered physical injuries or mental disorder symptoms as a consequence of the conflict. These men happened, therefore, to embody the destructiveness of war and performed as human and living ‘sites of memory’. Because of their heralded heroism in the battlefields, shattered soldiers, however, were commonly considered worthy and in need of an (economic and medical) assistance that disabled civilians had not experienced beforehand. In spite of such considerations and of the yet numerous studies focusing on the interrelation between war and disablement (Julie Anderson, Joanna Burke, Ana Carden-Coyne, Deborah Cohen, David Gerber, Sabine Kienitz, Marina Larsson just to mention few), there has never been organized so far an international conference dealing exclusively with such a topic in an historical and comparative perspective.

Disabled veterans have always been involved in the commemorations of the Great War, but they have never been the focal point of any celebration. That is why we believe that the upcoming centenary of 2014 may provide us with an important opportunity to reflect upon the impact of war on the individual lives of those (and their families) who came back impaired, as well as on the institutions (charities, governmental agencies, ministries, associations, etc.) taking charge of their care and assistance during and after the conflict. Hence, we’d like to explore the question of the political, social, medical and cultural legacies of war disability in postwar society. The conference as well as the special issue will be specifically interested in strengthening comparative and transnational approaches. Contributions on rather unknown case studies and geographical/national areas are especially welcomed.

The gathering of international scholars coming from different countries would be, therefore, the occasion for in-depth discussions, reviews of previous studies, and outlining of future research perspectives. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: medicine/surgery and treatment, rehabilitation and vocational retraining, associations and self-advocacy, charities and care-giving, war pensions, experience and memory, visual and textual representation (of the disabled themselves), suffering and pain, the place and function of the disabled body at inter-war commemorative activities, the international shaping of a global discourse on the mutilated body, the influence of war-related discourse on the over-all care for the disabled in general etc. Although the main conference will be focused on the First World War the call for papers, however, also is open for contributions that deal with the impact of subsequent conflicts on the soldier’s body and mind.

Besides the organization of an international conference which will be held on November 4th-6th 2013 the organizers also envisage first of all a special issue in the International Journal of the Society for First World War Studies. The Editor-in-chief already has approved the idea and the issue would be published in 2014. Furthermore, the organizers aim at publishing a book that would gather some/all of the papers presented at the conference. That would be the first book presenting a wide array of (trans)national cases on the subject of disability and the Great War, by getting together, thus, diverse hypotheses, methodologies and sources; In this way it would make European scholars as well as European citizens aware of the existence of disabled soldiers from the Great War and their particular place in the upcoming centennial celebration.

Practical & financial information

We are very pleased to announce that we will be able to accept and reimburse 13 scholars a sum of maximum 500 euro’s to cover their travel expenses to and from Ypres/Belgium where the conference will be held. Besides that the organizational committee will also pay for the accommodation (2 nights). Included also is a visit to the world famous and recently renovated In Flanders Fields Museum as well as a guided tour on the second day to the Western front line.

Please do also note that after the international conference “Commemorating the disabled soldier” will be ended, there will be another conference organized dealing especially with the relation between medicine and the Great War. Closely linked to this event two exhibitions will take place in Ghent and Ypres on the history of psychiatry and medicine in relation to the Great War. Unfortunately we will not be able to pay for additional nights.

Time line & deadlines

Submission of abstract and short CV: December 1st 2012 – Abstract=600 words/CV=Maximum 20 lines
Letter of acceptance (abstract): January 2013
First draft of the manuscript: June 1st 2013
Comments by the editors: September 1st 2013
Conference at Ypres: November 4th-6th 2013
Second draft of the manuscript: December 1st 2013
Final manuscript for First World War Studies: February 1st 2014

Submission of abstracts

Abstracts containing no more than 600 words and a CV of no more than 20 lines should be sent to before December 1st 2012.

Looking forward to some thought provoking contributions as well as fruitful discussion,

The editorial committee,
Pieter Verstraete, Martina Salvante & Julie Anderson

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