Women's Movements and Female Activists in the Aftermath of the First World War, 1918-1923 (CfP)

Below is another interesting Call for Papers (still a few days to submit your abstracts). With this project we are here in the aftermath and for us this is the opportunity to stress one thing that might seem obvious: the First World War is not only the five-year period between 1914 and 1918 but what comes before and, above all, what this tragedy scattered afterwards. Also the First World War Centenary is going to become a great opportunity for all the nations celebrating it if its action and meaning will go further, without stopping at November 2018. If that is not going to happen, the Centenary is going to become another lost chance. 

Women’s Organisations and Female Activists in the Aftermath of the First World War: Central and Eastern Europe in National, Transnational, International and Global Context.

An interdisciplinary, international conference to be held at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. 17th-19th May 2013. Recent developments in the social and cultural history of modern warfare have done much to shed new light on the experience of the First World War, and in particular how that experience was communicated in popular and high culture, and in acts of remembrance and commemoration after 1918. The post-war period (ca 1918-1923) is distinctive, both within individual nations and as a point of international comparison. It is characterised by the often troubled transition from a wartime to a peacetime society; continued conflicts over the repatriation of refugees and POWs; revolutionary and counter- revolutionary violence in parts of Central Europe; and new ethnic and national conflicts arising from the collapse of the former Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires, and the cultural anxieties that surrounded these events. Within this context, the role of organised women's movements and female activists in the post-war period takes on a new importance. The aim of this conference is to explore major comparative themes such as citizenship, suffrage, nationalism, commemoration, revolution and militarised technology from a national, international and transnational perspective. It will have a particular focus on movements and activists operating in or communicating with Central and Eastern Europe. It will examine the work of organisations and individuals able to move across international borders, such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) or the journalist Eleanor Franklin Egan, who reported on social conditions throughout post-war Europe. The role of such women and organisations in bringing about reconciliation and facilitating cooperation between former enemy nations (cultural demobilisation, ‘the dismantlement of the mindsets and values of wartime’—John Horne) will also be examined, as will the role of nationalist women's organisations in perpetuating discourses of war and in facilitating the rise of new forms of ethno-nationalism and racial intolerance (‘cultural remobilisation’) during the period 1918-1923. This conference is the fourth in a series. The first conference, The Gentler Sex: Responses of the Women’s Movement to the First World War, 1914-1919, London, held in 2005, was followed in 2008 with Aftermaths of War: Women’s Movements and Female Activists 1918-1923, Leeds, and in May 2012 with Women’s Organisations and Activists: Moving Across Borders, Hamline. Publications arising from the earlier conferences include special issues of Minerva: Journal of Women and War and two edited volumes: Fell, A.S. and Sharp, I.E. (eds) (2007) The Women's Movement in Wartime. International Perspectives 1914-1919. Palgrave Macmillan and Sharp, I.E. and Stibbe, M. (eds) (2011) Aftermaths of War: Women’s Movements and Female Activists, 1918-1923 (Brill). The Budapest Conference is linked in particular with the Hamline Conference which focused on the US experience and transnational organisations. It is supported by a network grant from the UK-based Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Two special issues of a peer-reviewed journal and a volume of comparative essays are planned for 2014, based on papers given at both conferences.  

Confirmed speakers include: Judit Acsády (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest) Alison Fell (University of Leeds, UK) Susan R. Grayzel (University of Mississippi, USA) Gabriella Hauch (University of Vienna, Austria) David Hudson (Hamline University, USA) Ingrid Sharp (University of Leeds, UK) Olga Shnyrova (Ivanonvo State University, Russia) Matthew Stibbe (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) Nikolai Vukov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia).

Proposals for papers and/or panels that deal with the work of women’s organisations or female activists between 1918 and 1923 are invited in the following areas: 
- Commemoration and discourses of heroism; 
- transnational organisations and activities transcending the nation state; 
- peace-building and reconstruction: cultures of resistance to war and the mind sets of war; 
- right-wing women and culture remobilisation; 
- on-going campaigns for suffrage and women’s organisations post-suffrage, specifically in the Central and Eastern European context; 
- socialist women and revolutionary violence; 
- women and the technology of war; 
- women’s involvement in relief work and social activism, particularly in the Central and Eastern European context;
- cultural reflections of post-war society in art, literature and film, particularly in the Central and Eastern European context

Contributions are welcome from any field or discipline, including literary and cultural studies, sociology and social anthropology, women’s and gender studies, peace and war studies, as well as history itself. Please send abstracts (500 words in English) to Ms Ingrid Sharp i.e.sharp@leeds.ac.uk and Professor Matthew Stibbe m.stibbe@shu.ac.uk by Friday 7th December 2012