Three day conference & Special issue First World War Studies

2014 will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the Great War. On the occasion of this important anniversary the Centre for the History of Education of the KU Leuven (Belgium), the Centre for War Studies of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and the Centre for the History of Medicine of the University of Kent (United Kingdom) propose to organize an international conference aimed at reflecting on the impact of that specific event on soldiers’ bodies and minds. Millions of men all over the globe, in fact, returned home limbless, sightless, deaf, disfigured or mentally distressed.

In the last decades disability history has attracted an increasing interest in the scholarly community, thus becoming a well-established field, which has been highlighting, among others, the experiences of impaired people, medical and rehabilitative techniques, charitable institutions and welfare measures, public reception and private emotions. The First World War has somehow represented a watershed both in the visibility and the treatment of impairment and disablement owing to the massive amount of men who suffered physical injuries or mental disorder symptoms as a consequence of the conflict. These men happened, therefore, to embody the destructiveness of war and performed as human and living ‘sites of memory’. Because of their heralded heroism in the battlefields, shattered soldiers, however, were commonly considered worthy and in need of an (economic and medical) assistance that disabled civilians had not experienced beforehand. In spite of such considerations and of the yet numerous studies focusing on the interrelation between war and disablement (Julie Anderson, Joanna Burke, Ana Carden-Coyne, Deborah Cohen, David Gerber, Sabine Kienitz, Marina Larsson just to mention few), there has never been organized so far an international conference dealing exclusively with such a topic in an historical and comparative perspective.

Disabled veterans have always been involved in the commemorations of the Great War, but they have never been the focal point of any celebration. That is why we believe that the upcoming centenary of 2014 may provide us with an important opportunity to reflect upon the impact of war on the individual lives of those (and their families) who came back impaired, as well as on the institutions (charities, governmental agencies, ministries, associations, etc.) taking charge of their care and assistance during and after the conflict. Hence, we’d like to explore the question of the political, social, medical and cultural legacies of war disability in postwar society. The conference will be specifically interested in strengthening comparative and transnational approaches. A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published as a seperate special issue of the International Journal of the Society for First World War Studies (Taylor & Francis) in 2014.

Participants – in alphabetical order

Julie Anderson (University of Kent, UK): A Spectacle of Cure: royalty, hospitals and disabled servicemen in Britain in the First World War

Monika Baár (University of Groningen, The Netherlands):  The Impact of the Great War on the Human-Animal Bond: Blind Veterans and their Guide Dogs in Interwar Germany

Alice Brumby (University of Huddersfield, UK): “Disorientated in time, space and identity:” Understanding the experience of institutionalisation as told by the mentally disabled war veterans in post- war Yorkshire, 1924-1931.

Ana Carden-Coyne (University of Manchester, UK): The Politics of Wounds: Military Patients and Medical Power in the First World War

ADDED – Clément Collard (Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po): From Soldiers to Citizens: Disabled Veterans of WW1 in France, between Rehabilitation and Solidarity

ADDED – Wendy Gagen: Moments of categorization: the male body and war pensions in Britain

Gary Haines (Birkbeck College, UK): Sargent, Galsworthy, Lawrence and the ‘Cancelled’ Soldier: The Visual and Cultural Representation of the Blinded British Soldier of the Great War.

Floortje Haspeslagh & Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven, Belgium): The mutilated Belgian: An analysis of the invalid Belgian soldier’s image in the newspaper ‘De Belgische verminkte’, 1917-1940

Katherrine Healey (California State University, USA): Title to be announced later

Dee Hoole (University of Aberdeen, UK): ‘The Abode of Madness’: Soldiers in the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum 1914-18

Sabine Kienitz (University of Hamburg, Germany): Brains, habitus and narratives: The everyday life approach in the rehabilitation of the brain injured soldiers (WWI/WWII)

Nils Löffelbein (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany):  “Citizens of honor– The disabled veterans of the First World War and the national-socialism

Kate Macdonald (Ghent University, Belgium):  Political war wounds in post-First World War popular fiction

CANCELED – Fabio Montella e Francesco Paolella (Italy): Bodies’ war: Degenerations and regenerations in the First World War Italy

Kerry Neale (Australian War Memorial): Disabled, disfigured or both? Exploring the post-war experiences of facially disfigured Great War soldiers.

Michael Roper (University of Essex, UK): The long Great War: psychological legacies across the century

Emily Rootham (Glascow Caledonian university, Scotland):  The visual representation of the Scottish disabled ex-serviceman during the interwar period: Conflicts of identity.

Melanie Ruff (Institute for the History of Medicine, Germany):  “Repulsive and disfigured”: from medical discourses on face injured man to the Imperial Supply Act of 1920

Martina Salvante (Trinity College, Ireland): Aurelio Nicolodi and the War Blinded in Florence

CANCELED – Rebecca P. Scales (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA):  Sonic Vision: Radio, Rehabilitation, and Disabled Veterans in Interwar France

Alexandre Sumpf (Université de Strasbourg, France): Les invalides à l’écran : Mémoire et oubli de la Grande Guerre dans le cinéma russe et soviétique, 1914-1940

Nurseli Yeşim Sünbüloğlu (University of Sussex, UK):  Rehabilitation of the Disabled Veterans of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey: Social and Political Implications

Axel Tixhon (Université de Namur, Belgium): Le corps en ruines : Les invalides dans la presse illustrée de la Grande Guerre

Christine Van Everbroeck (Royal Museum of the Army and Military History, Belgium): War-related psychiatric distress, as treated by the Belgian campaign army, 1914-1918

Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven, Belgium):  The bird of solidarity: Mutilated soldiers and the rise of a comprehensive care system for persons with disabilities in Belgium

Final Programme

Monday November 4th:

11h30-12: Introductions and welcome by the organizing team & the Province of West-Flanders

Coffee/Tea Break

13-15: Panel 1 – Visual and cultural representations of disabled soldiers (Chair: Pieter Verstraete)

  • Alexandre Sumpf  (Université de Strasbourg, France) : Les invalides à l’écran: Mémoire et oubli de la Grande Guerre dans le cinema russe et soviétique, 1914-1940
  • Gary Haines (Birkbeck College, UK) : Sargent, Galsworthy, Lawrence and the ‘Cancelled’ soldier: The visual and cultural representation of the blinded British soldier of the Great War
  • Emily Rootham (Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland): The visual representation of the Scottish disabled ex-serviceman during the interwar period: Conflicts of identity
  • Axel Tixhon (Université de Namur, Belgium) : Le corps en ruines : Les invalides dans la presse illustrée de la Grande Guerre

Coffee/Tea Break

15h30-17h30: Panel 2 – Experiences and politics of shell-shock (Chair: Julie Anderson)

  • Christine Van Everbroeck (Royal Museum of the Army and Military History, Belgium):War-related psychiatric distress, as treated by the Belgian campaign army, 1914-1918
  • Sabine Kienitz (University of Hamburg, Germany): Brains, habitus and narratives: The everyday life approach in the rehabilitation of the brain injured soldiers (WWI/WWII)
  • Dee Hoole (University of Aberdeen, UK): ‘The abode of madness’: Soldiers in the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum 1914-1918
  • Alice Brumby (University of Huddersfield, UK): ‘Disoriented in time, space and identity’: Understanding the experience of institutionalisation as told by the mentally disabled war veterans in post-war Yorkshire, 1924-1931

18h00-19h15: Dinner

19h30: Meeting at Menin-Gate with Last Post Association

20h00: Last post ceremony

Tuesday November 5th:

8h30-10h30: Panel 3 – The politics of wounds (Chair: Martina Salvante)

  • Nurseli Yesim Sünbüloglu (University of Sussex, UK): Rehabilitation of the disabled veterans of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey: Social and political implications
  • Ana Carden-Coyne (University of Manchester, UK): The politics of wounds: Military patients and medical power in the First World War
  • Kate MacDonald (Ghent University, Belgium): Political war wounds in post-First World War popular fiction
  • Julie Anderson (University of Kent, UK): A spectacle of cure: royalty, hospitals and disabled servicemen in Britain in the First World War

Coffee/Tea Break

11-12h30: Key note lecture (Prof. Michael Roper): The long Great War: Psychological legacies across the century.

Coffee/Tea Break

14h30-18h30: Guided tour in Flanders fields: Ypres, 14h30 [Bus: 15 minutes] Zonnebeke, Tyne Cot Cemetery, 14h50 until 15h30 [Bus: 30 minutes] Poperinge, Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, 16h until 17h [Bus: 10 minutes] Poperinge, Talbot House, 17h10 until 18h10 [Bus: 20 minutes] Ypres, 18h30

19h30: Dinner (Declamation of war poetry by Chris Spriet)

Wednesday November 6th:

8h30-10h30: Panel 4 – Inter-war experiences of disabled service-men (Chair: Julie Anderson)

  • Clément Collard (Centre d’Histoire des Sciences Po): From Soldiers to Citizens: Disabled Veterans of WW1 in France, between Rehabilitation and Solidarity
  • Wendy Gagen: Moments of categorization: the male body and war pensions in Britain
  • Nils Löffelbein (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany): ‘Citizens of honor’ – The disabled veterans of the First World War and the national-socialism
  • Floortje Haspeslagh & Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven, Belgium): The mutilated Belgian: An analysis of the invalid Belgian Soldier’s image in the newspaper: ‘De Belgische verminkte’, 1917-1940

Coffee/Tea Break

11-12h30: Panel 5 – Crossing the self: prosthesis and self-advocacy of blinded WW1 soldiers (Chair: Pieter Verstraete)

  • Martina Salvante (Trinity College, Ireland): Aurelio Nicolodi and the war blinded in Florence
  • Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven, Belgium): The bird of solidarity: Mutilated soldiers and educational heritage
  • Monika Baar (University of Groningen, The Netherlands): The impact of the Great War on the Human-Animal Bond: Blind veterans and their guide dogs in Interwar Germany

Coffee/Tea Break

14h-15h30: Panel 6 – Bodies and faces of war (Chair: Martina Salvante)

  • Kerry Neale (Australian War Memorial): Disabled, disfigured or both? Exploring the post-war experiences of facially disfigured Great War soldiers
  • Melanie Ruff (Institute for the History of Medicine, Germany): ‘repulsive and disfigured’: from medical discourses on face injured man to the Imperial Supply Act of 1920
  • Katherinne Healey (California State University, USA)

15h30-16: Concluding remarks

Registration

Due to restricted accommodation there are only 10 places available. The conference fee consists of 50 euro (Conference dinner not included; only coffee/tea and guided tour) or 100 euro (Conference dinner included as well as coffee/tea and guided tour). Please note that hotel accommodation in both options is not included and should be organized by the attendant him/herself. Registration is required before July 1st and should be done by sending an e-mail to pieter.verstraete@ppw.kuleuven.be. A letter of motivation should be included enumerating the reasons why one would like to attend the conference. A selection will be made on the basis of these letters and further directions with regard to payment will be given afterwards.

Directions to Conference Venue and Hotel

How to reach Ypres by plane/train?  Please do book a flight to Brussels Airport. From there you should take a train to Brussels-Nord where you should get off and take the train to Ypres. The trip takes like 2hours and some minutes. It is only a 10 minute walk from the station in Ypres to the hotel on the Centrel Market Square. The Conference Venue is located next to the station.

Conference venue: Het Perron – Fochlaan 1, B-8900 Ieper, Belgium

Hotel: Hotel Regina – Grote Markt 45, B-8900 Ieper, Belgium

Hotel Regina

Plattegrond_ieper

 

Sponsored by …

This three day conference is officially approved by the Commission for the Commemoration of the First World War in Belgium

logo 100 jaar WOI nederlands

And is sponsored by the following organisations and research centers:

Province of West-Flanders

 

Centre d’Histoire des Sociétés, des Sciences & des Conflits – Université de Picardie, Jules Vernes

Centre for War Studies – Trinity College

Centre for the History of Education – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Centre for the History of Medicine – University of Kent

Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders

In Flanders Fields Museum