Call for Papers

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Call for Papers: Languages and the First World War II Conference, 10-12 September 2018


Following a successful first international conference on Languages and the First World War (University of Antwerp and the British Library, June 2014), two successful books of essays (Palgrave-MacMillan), and the following that has been built up (@LanguagesFWW and the blog), the organisers are pleased to announce the second Languages and the First World War conference for 10 and 12 September 2018.

The 2018 conference will be held at Europe House, Westminster (10 September) and at KU Leuven Belgium (Brussels campus, 12 September).

The 2018 conference will broaden the scope of the subject of languages and the First World War. While 2018 as the final centennial year suggests a concentration on the end of the war, Languages and the First World War II also aims to extend the subject area into the aftermath of the war. Also, the period 2014-2018 has given the opportunity for much in-depth exploration of topics that have arisen from the wealth of conferences, books, papers, symposiums and the opening up of archives and collections.

We would therefore welcome abstract submissions from academic researchers as well as from educational practitioners, museum and archive staff, heritage organisations and non-profit organisations and associations (including cultural, youth, local history).

Papers are invited that

  1. Discuss the causes, progress and aftermath of the war from a language point of view.
  2. Explore largely unchartered physical territories with complicated geo-political wartime and aftermath shifts, often through ethnic affiliation.
  3. Analyse the many language interpretations in place.

Causes, progress and aftermath of the war from a linguistic point of view include, but not exclusively, dialect, slang, swearing, officialese, the language of mourning, the language of international post-war negotiation, interpreting, multilinguism, propaganda, popular media, correspondence, graffiti, non-verbal communication systems, the language of regimental diaries, memoirs and phrasebooks, all will be considered.

We would particularly welcome contributions on specific languages relating to geo-political complexities. These include Balkan languages, Turkish, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Portuguese, Arabic, Indian languages, African languages, Chinese, and Japanese.

The First World War created many fields of linguistic interpretation. These include the linguistic aspects of treaties such as the Versailles Conference; and the rhetorics of resettlement, avoidance, resentment, occupation, reconciliation, pilgrimages, battlefield guides, commemorations and memories. There are also languages and shifts in language use in relation to racial orientiation and the deliberate absence of languages, the omission of the other.

Papers can easily be cross-disciplinary, but within a context of monolingualism or multilingualism. In that respect, cross-cultural mediation and translation can be seen as a means for ideologies of acculturation or isolation.

As with the first conference the organisers aim to publish at least one volume stemming from conference contributions. The first conference papers were published by Palgrave-MacMillan, who have expressed interest in publishing further texts.

Our scientific panel comprises:

  • Marnix Beyen, University of Antwerp
  • Elke Brems, University of Leuven
  • Peter Doyle, London Southbank University
  • Hilary Footitt, Uinversity of Reading
  • Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Jonathon Robinson, British Library
  • Katya Rogatchevskaya, British Library
  • Professor Odile Roynette, Université de Franch-Comté
  • Tamara Scheer, University of Vienna
  • Tom Toremans, University of Leuven
  • Luc Vandeweyer, Rijksarchief Brussels
  • Antoon Vrints, University of Ghent

Abstracts and proposals for panels or posters

Abstracts of 250 words to be sent to by 16 March, 2018.

For interest or further questions, please contact Languages and the First World War at





ISSN: 2057-0422

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