The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from the South

The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from the South

World War Group Zentrum Moderner Orient
Zentrum Moderner Orient, Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin
From - Until
08.06.2007 - 09.06.2007
Katrin Bromber

The World in World Wars:
Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from the South

Zentrum Moderner Orient,
Berlin, 8–9 June, 2007


In European historiography, the two great wars of the 20th century have in recent years increasingly been explored in terms of their social, cultural and intellectual effects, complementing earlier research that focused mostly on military and political aspects of these wars. However, despite the global scope indicated in the term “world wars”, systematic research on experiences and perceptions of these wars in the global south has played a rather marginal role compared to the largely Eurocentric historical writings on this era until today.

With the aim of contributing to a more balanced historiography of the World Wars, a number of projects dealing with world war experiences and perceptions are currently being carried out at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin, Germany. With a specific emphasis on social and cultural aspects, the projects investigate perspectives from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Africa, focusing equally on individual and collective experiences (of combatants as well as non-combatants, men and women), memories, perceptions, and intellectual discourses and representations of the World Wars.

In this framework, a series of workshops are being held at the ZMO. While the first workshop had a regional focus on the Arab East (ZMO, 30-31 March, 2006), the second is broadening its geographical scope to include all regions of the global south. Entitled “The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from the South”, it will be held at the ZMO in Berlin on 8-9 June 2007. By encouraging new regional and disciplinary foci, it seeks to unsettle conventional notions of time and space, including established periodizations and geographies of the world wars.

To that end, we invite contributions based on original empirical research, which reflect the perspectives of a wide range of historical actors from the global south and whose emphasis is on the experiential and the representational, as we believe these two registers to be important entries into the writing of new social and cultural histories of the world wars. Contributors are encouraged to address the abovementioned issues and frame their questions along one of the following two axes of discussion: 1) specific world war experiences of combatants and civilians from the global south in the first half of the twentieth century in any of their economic, military, biographical, cultural and social dimensions; 2) representations and interpretations of the two wars, their place in public debates and their influence on self-perceptions and worldviews in the regions of the global south.

Abstracts of about 300 words should be sent by 30 November 2006, either per e-mail to or per postal mail to: World War Group, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin, Germany. Applications by younger scholars are particularly encouraged. Replies to proposals will be sent by 15 December 2006 and participants will be asked to submit their papers by 15 May 2007. Travel and/or accommodation allowances are available to some extent for those participants who cannot solicit funding from their own institutions. For further information, please contact any of the workshop convenors at the abovementioned addresses. Ravi Ahuja, Katrin Bromber, Dyala Hamzah, Katharina Lange, Heike Liebau.


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World War Group
Zentrum Moderner Orient
Kirchweg 33
14129 Berlin

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