Over the last twenty years, military history has increasingly focused on social and economic, cultural or political aspects of warfare. Following a workshop in November 2012, this conference aims to contribute to this historiographical trend by combining the most innovative research currently devoted to military history and decolonisation.
From the Second World War to the end of the Portuguese colonial wars, the European armed forces (British, Belgian, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese) were confronted with new experiences of war and politics.
The objective of this conference is to better understand how decolonisation could transform the institutions, ideas and practices of the armed forces during and after these wars of independence. From this perspective, a comparative approach allows to better understand the socio-historical context of each colonial situation and enables us to perceive and highlight similarities and differences between these experiences and transformations and, therefore, acquire a clearer picture of the overall impact of these events on the European military.
Contributions to this Conference will address a wide range of issues. How do the evolution of European and colonial societies, technical modernisation, changes in customs and representations affect European armies? What social and cultural changes do military institutions face during times of conflict and wars of independence? What were the forms of these changes and how were the challenges that these changes brought about faced? In this context, what relationships do the armies maintain with the political arena before, during and after the conflict? And what are their relations with their civil society, both in their homeland and in the colonies? What experiences of combat and politics emerge from these unconventional wars? How do the different national armies learn from preceding wars and how did ideas and knowledge circulate between the different Western armies?
For example, the panel workshop in November 2012 dealt with the production of knowledge and military information, the status of the army in the homeland and colonies, the use of indigenous troops during the conflict of decolonisation, anti-insurgency practices during the Algerian war of independence and the experience of the colonised in the colonial armies.
This conference is organised by the research group »Social and cultural history of the French army during the decolonisation« at the German Historical Institute Paris (DHIP) and the European network »Armed Forces in the Times of Decolonisation« (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Raphäelle Branche), University of Birmingham (Peter Gray), the University of Siena (Nicola Labanca) and German Historical Institute Paris (Steffen Prauser). It is intended for researchers and graduate students working on European armed forces during times of decolonisation.
We expect works focused on social and cultural history of military and politics in colonial spaces. In this conference, we hope for contributions allowing us to think long a sliding scale from local monographies to global analysis. Preference will be given to comparative approaches between geographical areas or between time periods. We will pay particular attention to the work of young researchers and PhD students.
Scientific Committee :
Raphaëlle Branche (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Olivier Dard (Université de Lorraine)
Nicola Labanca (Università di Siena)
Peter Gray (Birmingham University)
Frédéric Guelton (Revue historique des armées)
Luis Rodigues (ISTCE Lisboa)
Steffen Prauser (Institut historique allemand Paris)
Hotel and a contribution to your travel expenses will be covered (up to 150 €/France; up to 250 €/flight Europe; up to 900€/flight overseas).
The deadline for applications is 15 October 2013.
Please send your CV and a short description (max. 500 words, in English) of your contribution to mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference will be held at the German Historical Institute in Paris, on 5–7 February 2014. The working language will be English.