Call For Papers – Colonialism, War & Photography

       Call for Papers for an Interdisciplinary Workshop as part of the research project

Cultural Exchange in Times of Global Conflict: Colonials, Neutrals and Belligerents during the First World War

Colonialism, War & Photography

London – 17 September 2015

If the First World War is usually defined as the military clash of empires, it can also be reconceptualised as a turning point in the history of cultural encounters. Between 1914 and 1918, more than four million non-white men were drafted mostly as soldiers or labourers into the Allied armies: they served in different parts of the world – from Europe and Africa to Mesopotamia, the Middle East and China – resulting in an unprecedented range of cultural encounters. The war was also a turning point in the history of photographic documentation as such moments and processes were recorded in hundreds of thousands of photographs by fellow soldiers, official photographers, amateurs, civilians and the press. In the absence of written records, these photographs are some of our most important – and hitherto largely neglected – sources of the lives of these men: in trenches, fields, billets, hospitals, towns, markets, POW camps. But how do we ‘read’ these photographs?

Second-Lieutenant Frank Bassill, British official cameraman, with a Moy & Bastie camera and members of the Chinese Labour Corps (IWM Q 10260).
Second-Lieutenant Frank Bassill, British official cameraman, with a Moy & Bastie camera and members of the Chinese Labour Corps (IWM Q 10260).

Using the First World War as a focal point, this interdisciplinary one-day workshop aims to examine the complex intersections between war, colonialism and photography. What is the use and influence of (colonial) photography on the practice of history? What is the relationship between its formal and historical aspects? How are the photographs themselves involved in the processes of cultural contact that they record and how do they negotiate structures of power? Continue reading “Call For Papers – Colonialism, War & Photography”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom redistribute red poker chips, symbolizing global military spending, as they see fit. Photograph: Mir Grebäck von Melen/WILPF via the Guardian
Above, members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom at the Hague in April redistribute red poker chips, which symbolize global military spending. Photograph: Mir Grebäck von Melen/WILPF via the Guardian

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

Who’s afraid of a feminist foreign policy? To mark the centenary of the Woman’s Peace Congress and the corresponding international peace conference held at the Hague this past week, here are this week’s top picks. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

ANZAC
Woolworths’ controversial ANZAC Day campaign poster.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From Lincoln’s forgotten post-war black colonization scheme to misremembering the First World War, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

us empire insular

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From 17th-Century Lessons for US-Iranian relations, to the great escape that changed Africa’s future, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

A mechanical postcard-form protest published by the Hungarian's Women's National Association, 1920, protesting the division of Hungaria by the Treaty of Trianon. A dial on the side of the card splits the country into its new political boundaries. Wofsonian
A mechanical postcard published by the Hungarian Women’s National Association, 1920, protesting the division of Hungaria by the Treaty of Trianon. A dial on the side of the card splits the country into its new political boundaries. Courtesy of Wofsonian

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the Great War’s global effects to ISIS’s anti-Western gold currency, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Exeter’s Dr. Singh Featured in BBC’s ‘Soldiers of the Empire’

Singh headshot
Dr. Gajendra Singh

BBC Radio 4 recently featured the Centre’s Dr. Gajendra Singh in its ‘Soldiers of Empire’ series, ‘The Fight for Fairyland’ (especially at 17 minutes and 26 minutes). This episode:

tells the story of the Indian Army on the Western Front, from disembarkation in Marseilles where the troops were greeted by excited crowds, to the grim reality of the trenches. Ill-equipped and inadequately trained for industrial combat, they nonetheless resolutely held one third of the British frontline between October and December 1914.

Continue reading “Exeter’s Dr. Singh Featured in BBC’s ‘Soldiers of the Empire’”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen

LawBooksHere are this week’s top picks in imperial and global reading: Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Exeter History Society’s The Historian on the First World War

Arthur der Weduwen & Andrew Eckert
Editors of The Historian, 2013-2014

Historian vol 3

The Imperial & Global Forum is delighted to draw your attention to the most recent volume of the University of Exeter’s excellent student History Society journal The Historian, this one focusing largely upon the First World War.

[From the Editors] We are very pleased to welcome you to the third issue of the third volume of The Historian, the University of Exeter’s History Society Journal. As you may have judged from the cover, this edition largely focuses on the First World War and its centenary, which has dominated the news over the past months. This is the first time that The Historian runs with a specific theme; something we hope will continue in the future. This edition also features several articles unrelated to the First World War, as The Historian remains a journal to which any student can contribute on any topic of historical interest.

Continue reading “Exeter History Society’s The Historian on the First World War”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

"An ingenious and labored anti-Darwinian exercise inspired by The Descent of Man of the same date (1871); also a bit of a temperance tract. Original artwork displaying a miniaturist's skill. But for what purpose? The decorative margin and minute detail suggest lanternslide copy. If the figures had been intended as book illustrations BWH would have drawn them directly on the lithographic stone. The skeleton-on-body-silhouette renderings recall those in Hawkins's Comparative view of the Human and Animal Frame" -- Baird. Darwin - Wallace / B. Waterhouse Hawkins, 1871. Image available via Academy of Natural Sciences.
“An ingenious and labored anti-Darwinian exercise inspired by The Descent of Man of the same date (1871); also a bit of a temperance tract. Original artwork displaying a miniaturist’s skill. But for what purpose? The decorative margin and minute detail suggest lanternslide copy. If the figures had been intended as book illustrations BWH would have drawn them directly on the lithographic stone. The skeleton-on-body-silhouette renderings recall those in Hawkins’s Comparative view of the Human and Animal Frame” — Baird. Darwin – Wallace / B. Waterhouse Hawkins, 1871. Image available via Academy of Natural Sciences.

Marc-William Palen

Here are some of the Centre’s top reads for over the weekend:

*Historians are busy exploring why the First World War remains so fascinating to school children. Could it be the war’s angst-ridden poetry?

*The Great War isn’t the only conflict stirring up controversy this year. According to the Globe & Mail, The Conservative Harper government has now been warned by bureaucrats that its planned 110th anniversary commemoration of the Boer War should be peripheral at most. According to documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, civil servants warned:  Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Fighting the Myths of the First World War

Television - BBC - Blackadder Goes Forth - Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson - London
Rowan Atkinson as Cpt. Edmund Blackadder (left). Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick (right).

Marc-William Palen

Did you miss this weekend’s intellectual battle over the myths of the First World War? Here are the highlights.

Round 1, Gove v. Evans

Late last week, Education Secretary Michael Gove fired off the year’s opening salvo in the pages of the Daily Mail in ‘Why Does the Left Insist on Belittling True British Heroes?’ As the title suggests (and now with support from Stephen Pollard in the Express and UKIP’s Nigel Farage in the Independent), Gove attempts to situate the debate as a Left v. Right political issue (for which Professor Gary Sheffield has taken him to task). Continue reading “Fighting the Myths of the First World War”