Call for Papers – The Imperial World at War: The British Empire, 1939-1945

Call for Papers

The Imperial World at War: The British Empire, 1939-1945

Saturday and Sunday 21-22 September 2013

Kellogg College, University of Oxford

The Second World War disrupted millions of people in the form of military recruitment, civil labour conscription, food shortages, savage fighting, propaganda, and political competition. Imperial power connected remote regions to global economic, political, and military currents. The incredible diversity of the war experience of the subjects of the Empire-Commonwealth, and the great importance of the empire in defining Britain’s war, is only slowly coming to be properly understood. This conference aims to considerably broaden our understanding of the full impact of war in the widest sense by investigating imperial interconnections and social transformations during the Second World War in many regions of the British Empire, from South and South East Asia and Africa to the Caribbean and Middle East.

This two day conference aims to bring together an international group of PhD students, early career researchers as well as more senior academics working on the broad subject of the Second World War and the British Empire. The subject is interpreted broadly and boldly and we would welcome papers from diverse areas of military, social, medical, economic and political history. The conference is part of an AHRC funded project entitled ‘Home Fronts of the Empire-Commonwealth: Imperial Interconnections and Wartime Social Transformations during the Second World War’ and some funding is available for international participants. Participants will be accommodated in Oxford and there will a conference dinner on the evening of Saturday 21st September.

The project has three major aims: firstly, to understand more clearly the imperial and transnational connections which enabled the fighting of the war, such as shipping and supply networks, migrant labour and factory production. Secondly, the project seeks to go beyond conventional military history to analyze the experience of non-combatants and the links between civilians and wartime in these regions; for instance the role of labourers, nurses, transport workers and factory workers. Thirdly, the project hopes to highlight the social transformation wrought by wartime, for instance, the development generated by war through the investment of indigenous capital, the building of infrastructure and development of cities and factories. In short, the total and transforming nature of war during empire will be better stressed and illustrated in a way that goes beyond simply ‘social’ or ‘military’ history to present a more integrated and holisitic appraisal of how events on the ground intersected with wartime transformations. This inevitably resulted in massive resistance to the British empire and papers may also address these political dimensions within the wider framework of war. It is hoped that an edited volume will result from the conference.

Please send proposals for papers or panels (maximum 500 words) to warandbritishempire@gmail.com by 1 June 2013

Conference organisers: Professor Ashley Jackson, Dr Gajendra Singh and Dr Yasmin Khan

Further deatils can be found on The British Empire at War Research Group website here.

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