CFP: The Aftermath of the WW1 in southern Africa: Repercussions and Transformations (In honour of Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013), University of South Africa (Unisa)

Call for Papers

International Conference

The Aftermath of the First World War in southern Africa: Repercussions and Transformations (In honour of Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013)

University of South Africa (Unisa),

Pretoria 12 – 13 November 2018

Over the past few years, a broad range of relevant aspects of the First World War have been explored in many countries. While the economic, social and political reverberations of the war in Europe have always been given due attention, fewer studies have focused on the impact of the war on the shaping of southern Africa. With the centenary of the end of the war approaching, we want to shift questions about the legacies of the war to a southern African context.

The objective of the conference is to explore relevant aspects of change during the inter-war period from various angles, encompassing political, social, cultural, economic, ecological, and technological aspects. We invite proposals for paper presentations on relevant  themes and topics.

We anticipate papers on the following questions

  • What impact did the innovations in military, medical and civil technologies have on southern Africa?
  • How were black and white veterans, especially those who returned with physical and mental injuries, reintegrated into their respective societies? How did the colonial state respond to these challenges?
  • How did the war impact on race relations and identity formation in the post-war period?
  • How did the experience and the memory of the war influence perceptions and expectations on the eve of the outbreak of the Second World War?
  • How were interned civilians and prisoners of war re-integrated into society?
  • How did the social, economic and political repercussions of the war shape the policies of the colonial state?
  • How did African leaders and communities respond to colonial policies in the post-war period?
  • How was the memory of the war preserved in southern African communities, and how did it change in response to the challenges of the post-war period?
  • How was the First World War portrayed in popular culture?
  • What impact did the war have on the struggles for independence and on the formation of new identities in a transnational and global context?
  • What role did the League of Nations play in shaping a new political consciousness?

Paper presentations should extend to approximately 15 minutes. We invite submissions for proposals until 13 August 2018. Proposals for papers may be submitted to the members of the organising team listed below. The proposed contributions should not have been previously published or accepted for publication elsewhere.

Proposals must include a title and a summary of the presentation. The conference organisers are currently exploring several options for financial support, but the participants are encouraged to consider self-funding if other funding is not available.

Organising team:

Dr Surya Chetty – Department of History, UNISA, South Africa,

Prof Tilman Dedering – Department of History, UNISA, South Africa,

Dr Stefan Manz – Department of Languages and Translation Studies, Aston University, UK,

Dr Anne Samson – Great War in Africa Association, International Network for the First World War, First World War Studies Group, UK and South Africa,


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