Occupation Studies

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Maastricht University

Events and Announcements

If you are organising an event on the subject of occupation, such as a workshop, a seminar series, or a conference, and would like this featured on the Network website, please email the convenors, and we shall be happy to include it here.

Call for Papers – Panel

Bridging Intercultural Encounters in Wartime Italy

Please consider submitting an abstract for the following panel held at the American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS) Conference 2022 (Bologna, May 29-June 1, 2022) by 27 January 2022.

This session aims at shifting the focus away from the widely researched Second World War battlefields of the Italian Campaign in order to examine different aspects of the intercultural relationships taking place in the multifaceted contexts of occupation, liberation and invasion. From 1943, in fact, Italy was subjected to two, very different, foreign occupations: that of the Germans and that of the Allies. War is a liminal experience that marks a severe break or a crucial turn in the lives of those who experience it, be they soldiers or civilians. The study of intercultural encounters shows that, as war forces people to move giving way to previously unimaginable encounters, it can, indeed, destroy and divide; and yet, war can also provide opportunities for meeting and appreciation of different cultures.

Proposals investigating – but not limited to – the analysis of issues including identity, otherness, racism, gender, and sexuality from perspectives including history, literature, cinema, art, memory studies, and any other field of the Humanities will be welcome:

  • Italian encounters with German soldiers before and after 8 September 1943;
  • Italian encounters with Allied soldiers in the context of invasion, liberation and occupation;
  • Foreign soldiers’ encounters with Italian soldiers and/or civilians;
  • The politics of the encounter;
  • The hierarchy of the encounter;
  • Gendered encounters;
  • Ordinary and extra-ordinary (covering experiences such as those of Allied POW escapees, SOE agents, Italian members of the Resistance…) encounters;
  • Italian encounters taking place outside Italy;
  • Italian encounters taking place in non-WWII conflicts.

Please consider sending a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio to Fabio Simonetti (fabio.simonetti@nullreading.ac.uk) indicating if you are happy to speak in-presence (preferable) in Bologna (May 29-June 1) or, alternatively, in the online session (May 13-15) by 27 January 2022.

The languages of the conference are English and Italian.



Lecture Series

Everyday Life under German Occupation 1939-1945

Organised by “Stiftung Topographie des Terrors” in cooperation with “Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas”. Designed by Tatjana Tönsemeyer.

Livestream: https://www.topographie.de/veranstaltungen/alltag-unter-besatzung/

11 January 2022: Narrowness, Coldness, Darkness. Housing Shortage, Depopulation and City Destruction as European Occupation-Experience in World War II.

Lecture: Prof. Dr. Tatjana Tönsmeyer
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Schüler-Springorum


22 February 2022: Leisure Time and Free Space? The Illusion of Normality under German Occupation.

Lecture: Prof. Dr. Nicholas Stargardt
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Tatjana Tönsmeyer

5 April 2022: Between Cooperation and Resistance. About Everyday Life of Mayors in Occupied Western Europe.

Lecture: Prof. Dr. Nico Wouters
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Tatjana Tönsmeyer


On-line Seminar Series

New Approaches to Medical Care, Humanitarianism and Violence during the ‘long’ Second World War, c. 1931–1953

This series of 12 on-line seminars (from 7 December 2021 to 28 June 2022) aims to reconsider the history of the long Second World War (1931-1953) from the perspectives of those who delivered and received medical and humanitarian care in various sites across the world. This wider timeframe is meant to address a number of issues with the traditional chronology of 1939 to 1945.  In particular, this timeframe obscures important transfers of expertise and practices across spaces, between ‘civilian’ and military medicine, and over time.  Instead, our seminar series takes as its starting point the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, which led to the collapse of bilateral agreement and the progressive dislocation of the League of Nations, with the Japanese, German and Soviet departures in the 1930s.  It ends with the termination of the Korean War in 1953, and the subsequent dismantlement of the first United Coalition and UN Peace enforcement operation. This periodization allows us to consider significant extra-European spaces and conflicts, such as the Ethiopian War, civil wars (including the Spanish Civil War), “regular” and “irregular” warfare in occupied Europe and Asia, as well as the first decolonization conflicts. Through this seminar series, we will reconsider the circulation of humanitarian knowledge, rhetoric, actors and practices between different organizations and in different contexts, such as Latin America for example. We will also reflect on the role of medical care within the transnational resistance – a session that might be particularly relevant to members of this network. Overall, the series covers a wide range of methodological approaches, geographical areas and subjects, from ‘Reinventing Forensic Investigations? Humanitarian medicine and the corpses of mass violence’, to ‘Therapeutic aesthetics’, ‘Race and mental health’ and ‘Humanitarian intimacies’.

The programme and a short video introduction can be found here.



Vandervort Prizes

The Vandervort Prizes recognize outstanding journal articles that contribute to the field of military history.

In previous years, the Vandervort Prizes (previously the Moncado Prize) recognized the best article in each issue of The Journal of Military History.  The Trustees of the Society for Military History have decided to expand the scope of the award, which honors the JMH’s longtime editor, the late Dr. Bruce Vandervort.  The prize now recognizes at least two of the best articles published in The Journal of Military History during the previous calendar year, as well as up to two articles published outside of the journal.

All articles published in The Journal of Military History are automatically eligible for the Vandervort Prizes.  The selection committee is seeking nominations of outstanding articles published in other journals.  These should be articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals, in English, with a publication date of 2021.  The journal itself need not focus on military history, as we are seeking to recognize scholarship that shows the intellectual breadth of our discipline. Self-nominations are permitted. One nomination per individual, please.

To nominate an article for consideration, please submit a copy of the article (preferably as a PDF) and complete citation information to aseipp@nulltamu.edu by January 18, 2022.



Conference – call for papers

The Great(er) War of Military Occupations in Europe: antecedents, experiences, and legacies
23-25 June 2022 (CfP deadline: 31 October 2021)

at the CEGESOMA (Study- and Documentation Centre for War and Contemporary Society), Brussels.

Organising committee:
Emmanuel Debruyne (UCLouvain – Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)
Gwendal Piégais (Université de Bretagne occidentale – Brest, France)
Élise Rezsöhazy (CEGESOMA – Brussels, Belgium)

Scientific committee:
Sophie De Schaepdrijver (Penn State University – PA, USA)
Maciej Górny (IHPAN – Warsaw, Poland)
Jonathan Gumz (University of Birmingham – United Kingdom)
John Horne (Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland)
Markus Pöhlmann (Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr
– Potsdam, Germany)
Tamara Scheer (Universität Wien – Vienna, Austria)
Nico Wouters (CEGESOMA – Brussels, Belgium)

Call for Papers

A historiographical renewal has emerged in recent years with regard to the military occupations in Europe during World War One. Still, as yet, few historians have tried to connect and compare these occupations at the European or even global level, to question the transfers between them, and finally to consider them more comprehensively in the long run or in the broad perspective of imperial regimes of domination. The aim of this conference is to understand the different forms taken by the occupations during the First World War and to develop better categories of analysis. In so doing, this conference will deploy a broad perspective on the European occupations of the WWI era.

First, scholars are encouraged to look beyond Central Powers occupations towards Entente military presences that may or may not be defined as occupations: not only the German occupation of Belgium, Romania or Poland, or the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Serbia and Montenegro; but the British presence in northern France; the lasting settlement of the Armée d’Orient in Macedonia; the Russian invasion and occupation of East Prussia and Galicia; the Russian support to the Romanian army; etc. The geographical framework will thus encompass all fronts: Western, Italian, Russian, Ottoman, and Balkan fronts.

Second, we welcome papers that look beyond the traditional chronological limits towards the Greater War, which, past the Armistice, continued in Eastern Europe and on the margins of empires. Occupation regimes endured beyond, or emerged from the Armistices: German forces remained in the Baltic and Ukraine; Entente forces occupied the Rhineland, the Danube and Constantinople; etc. Meanwhile, new state actors, born on the rubble of the Central Powers, occupied territories they considered their own (Polish occupations in Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine, successive reoccupations of the Caucasus, etc.). Even as we look beyond the Armistice, we will also look beyond the summer of 1914 to consider the decades leading up to the conflict, and how they may have left legacies that influenced the First World War’s military occupations.

This conference aims to reconsider those occupations in their economic, cultural, political and social dimensions, and to examine the diversity of the occupation regimes set up by the belligerents during the Great War. The occupation is the result of a military situation, but its nature is profoundly hybrid by confronting civilians and military, occupiers and occupied, political and security considerations. We will thus emphasize the efforts of coordination of the agendas of the various actors. To what extent did occupying institutions adapt to the realities of the occupied territories or shape them? And how did they reflect and cope with the tensions between occupying civilian and military actors, but also between them and the occupied authorities left in place and invited to cooperate?

Occupations were not just pragmatic responses to geostrategic contingencies. Even if numerous practices were essentially improvisations or ad hoc solutions, they were also thought, theorized and conceptualized, anticipatively or fueled by current or subsequent feedbacks. This conference will be an opportunity to discuss the intellectual or legal frameworks in which occupations operated, or which were generated by them; as well as frameworks transferred from one occupation regime to another. What practices have been transferred, and how have they been adapted? And what were the vectors of these transfers? What genealogy can be traced with the occupations that preceded it, and with those that followed?

The conference also welcomes papers highlighting economic and material issues. What tools and methods did the occupiers use to take advantage of the resources of this dominated space, in relation to the needs of war as well as to the longer-term prospects? To what extent did they clash with the realities of the occupied population? And what tensions did they cause with the other actors of the economic, military and political spheres, outside the occupied territory? Given the progress of scholarship on these matters, this is a particularly good time to consider them in a transnational perspective.

We also encourage scholars to send in paper proposals that deal with occupied communities, whose status under occupation oscillated between objects of knowledge, political subjects, strategic adversaries, and negotiating partners. How can we map out occupied citizens’ agency? Finally, on the experiential level, we may ask the question of how occupation affected daily and material life, social relationships and networks; what emotional regimes it engendered; and what were the limits of the intrusion of the “occupation” reality into the lives of individuals. In the process, we will pay especial attention to what cultural productions arose from these different experiences.

The conference will be held at the CEGESOMA (Study- and Documentation Centre for War and Contemporary Society) in Brussels from 23 to 25 June 2022. It will be conducted In English. The organisers will offer accommodation, but will not cover transport.

Proposals should include:
– Name and affiliation
– Title and a short abstract (100-200 words)
– Brief CV
Please submit proposals to: occupations2022@nullgmail.com
Deadline for the paper submission: October 31, 2021