The Great War and the Moving Image (CfP)

The videogame "Commander"
inspired by the Great War
To talk about the WWI means also talking about the way we remember and represent it. It is therefore also a matter of shaping the “collective conscience”, and if we assume with Maurice Halbwachs that even the acts of memory are deeply influenced by the symbolic within a particular society, it is undeniable that visual culture played a crucial role both during and after the conflict, not lastly because of its immediate understanding and consumption. Let’s think about the illustrations in newspapers and posters or about the propaganda and the advertisement at the front and in the homeland, as the literature has already pointed out. But let’s think also about films and particularly documentaries and all other genres of moving image: which great power to influence the common view did they have? Which impact did they exert on society? How can we today seize their historical importance as human artifacts responding to special cultural, social and political needs? And last but not least, do moving images shape also our understanding of the WWI today? Which role do the new technologies play (lets’ only think about at the digitalization of documents and the possibility to share them on on-line archives)? How do we deal with them?

The topic is really important and could raise interesting questions about the relationship between past and present, the WWI and our memory of it. Therefore we are happy that some of these (in part still neglected) questions will be at the centre of an international conference of the University of Kent which will take place in April 2014. The organizers wish to discuss on all form of moving images in order to explore the complex process of popular understanding of the war and welcome both historical works and multidisciplinary approaches. You can find the text of the CfP also here.

The Great War and the Moving Image

15-16 April 2014, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom
An international conference organised by the University of Kent in conjunction with the University of Southampton and in association with the Imperial War Museum.

The aim of the conference is to explore the Great War through all forms of moving images including cinema, television and computer games. We are particularly interested in the way genres have translated across media and how images were received creating popular understandings of the war and feeding into wider commemorative processes. The conference is particularly interested to explore the moving image in terms of circulation, distribution and representation.
While the conference is mainly historical in focus, we would like to encourage interdisciplinarity, especially the cross-fertilization of history with the wider military and media communities. This will be the first major international conference of its kind to explore these issues and will, we hope, identify further research synergies forming the basis for future collaboration.
Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Home Front
  • Combat filming
  • The Colonial context
  • The European context
  • Landscape and battlefield
  • The ‘other’ (women, orphans etc)
  • The wounded, disfigured and disabled
  • Battlefield tourism
  • Cinematic culture
  • The relationship between cinema and other forms of popular culture
  • Multi-national productions
Proposals (no more than 300 words in length) should be submitted, together with a short CV, by 11 November 2013 to either:

Professor David Welch:
Professor Mark Connelly:
Professor Adrian Smith:
Dr Michael