Conference: The Jewish Experience of the First World War, 11-13 June 2014, University of Sussex

Just decades after the experience of intense persecution and struggle for recognition that marked the 1870s and ‘80s, Jewish leaders and ordinary Jews across the globe found themselves at an unprecedented social and political crossroads. The frenzied military, social, and cultural mobilisation of European societies from 1914, along with the outbreak of revolution in Russia and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, had a profound impact on Jewish communities worldwide. The First World War thus constitutes a seminal but relatively under-researched moment in the evolution of modern Jewish history.

This two-day conference seeks to explore the variety of social and political phenomena that combined to the make the First World War a key turning point in the Jewish experience of the 20th century. Delegates will consider the degree to which individual Jews and Jewish communities in Europe, the US and elsewhere engaged with total war between 1914 and ’18 in a broad interdisciplinary and transnational context. By bringing together junior and more established scholars from a range of different disciplines, the conference aims to provide the setting for the an in-depth discussion on the place and multifaceted meanings of the First World War for our understanding of the Jewish experience of the modern era.

Papers are invited to engage with one or several of the following themes:

  • Economic and financial aspects of the War
  • Transnational Solidarity and National Loyalty: A Jewish Dilemma
  • Jews against Jews: the soldier’s experience
  • Liberation or Occupation: Jews in the occupied territories in Eastern Europe
  • Ethnic cleansings and wartime violence
  • Jewish POW and concentration camps
  • The role of Jewish clergy in the War
  • The Rabbinical interpretation of Total War
  • Representations of the War in Jewish sources
  • The War and the Struggle for a Jewish Homeland
  • The October Revolution and the Jewish Experience
  • The First World War and Jewish Memory and Memorialisation

The conference will be hosted by the Centre for German Jewish Studies, University of Sussex, in association with the History Department, Royal Holloway, UL, and convened by Gideon Reuveni (Sussex), Edward Madigan (Royal Holloway) and Claudia Siebrecht (Sussex). The Deadline for the submission of abstracts is 6 December 2013 and all applicants will be contacted by 31 January 2014.

Submissions should include the name and institutional affiliation of the applicant, a CV, and an abstract for a proposed paper of no more than 300 words.

All abstracts and any preliminary enquiries should be addressed Dr Reuveni at:g.reuveni@sussex.ac.uk

Date: 
11 June 2014 - 13 June 2014
11 Jun 2014
13 Jun 2014
Europe/London