Publication: Symposium on the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War

A symposium convened by Professor Joan Beaumont (ANU) on the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War in Australia, France, the UK, the US and Germany has been published this October in the Australian Journal of Political Science.

The articles can be accessed on http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cajp20/50/3 (scroll down to the middle of the page).

These short articles provide insights in the different ways in which nations and peoples remember and commemorate (or not) the centenary of the First World War.

 

Français:

Publication : Symposium comparatif sur la commémoration du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Un symposium coordonné par le Professeur Joan Beaumont (ANU) sur les commémorations officielles du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale en Australie, en France, au Royaume-Uni en Allemagne et aux Etats-Unis a paru dans l’Australian Journal of Political Science.

Les articles sont présentés en milieu de page sur http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cajp20/50/3

Les articles sont courts et, lus ensemble, mettent en lumière des contrastes importants dans l’organisation du centenaire dans les pays à l’étude.

Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration – book launch

Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration – Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand (Peter Lang, 2014) edited by Shanti Sumartojo & Ben Wellings

will be launched by Dr Douglas Craig – Head, School of History, ANU.

Date and Time: 5.30pm, Monday 4 August 2014

Venue: ANU Centre for European Studies, 1 Liversidge Street (Bldg 67C), Canberra

Parking: please see the Visitor Parking Map 
RSVP:
 europe@anu.edu.au by 1 August 2014

ANUCES is an initiative involving four ANU Colleges (Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Business and Economics, and Asia and the Pacific) co-funded by the ANU and the European Union.

NMGWC cover

The Great War continues to play a prominent role in contemporary consciousness. With commemorative activities involving seventy-two countries, its centenary is a titanic undertaking: not only ‘the centenary to end all centenaries’ but the first truly global period of remembrance.

This publication is based on a  symposium hosted by the ANU Centre for European Studies in 2012. In this innovative volume, the authors examine First World War commemoration in an international, multidisciplinary and comparative context. The contributions draw on history, politics, geography, cultural studies and sociology to interrogate the continuities and tensions that have shaped national commemoration and the social and political forces that condition this unique international event. New studies of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific address the relationship between increasingly fractured grand narratives of history and the renewed role of the state in mediating between individual and collective memories. Released to coincide with the beginning of the 2014-2018 centenary period, this collection illuminates the fluid and often contested relationships amongst nation, history and memory in Great War commemoration.

For more information please see http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=72209

Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration (Peter Lang, 2014)

NMGWC_cover

‘Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration: Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand’, edited by IRNWC co-founders Shanti Sumartojo and Ben Wellings, is now in print and available to order from the publisher Peter Lang:

http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=72209&concordeid=430937

Released to coincide with the beginning of the 2014-18 Great War centenary, this innovative volume combines the research of 16 members of the IRNWC who provide an international, multidisciplinary and comparative approach to the national commemorations of the First World War and the internationalization of the politics of the past. The studies range across Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and illuminate the continuities, tensions and contradictions in the complex interrelations between nation, history, and memory in Great War commemoration.

Contents

Andrew Mycock/Shanti Sumartojo/Ben Wellings: ‘The centenary to end all centenaries’: The Great War, Nation and Commemoration – John Hutchinson: National Commemoration after the ‘Second Thirty Years’ War’ – Ben Wellings: Lest You Forget: Memory and Australian Nationalism in a Global Era – Roger Hillman: From No Man’s Land to Transnational Spaces: The Representation of Great War Memory in Film – Frank Bongiorno: Anzac and the Politics of Inclusion – Andrew Mycock: The Politics of the Great War Centenary in the United Kingdom – James W. McAuley: Divergent Memories: Remembering and Forgetting the Great War in Loyalist and Nationalist Ireland – Laurence van Ypersele: The Great War in Belgian Memories: From Unanimity to Divergence – Mark McKenna: Keeping in Step: The Anzac ‘Resurgence’ and ‘Military Heritage’ in Australia and New Zealand – Matthew Graves: Memorial Diplomacy in Franco-Australian Relations – Elizabeth Rechniewski: Contested Sites of Memory: Commemorating Wars and Warriors in New Caledonia – Matthew Stibbe: Remembering, Commemorating and (Re)fighting the Great War in Germany from 1919 to the Present Day – Sarah Christie: The Sinking of the Marquette: Gender, Nationalism and New Zealand’s Great War Remembrance – Guy Hansen: Museums and the Great War: A Curator’s Perspective on the History of Anzac – Christine Cadot: Wars Afterwards: The Repression of the Great War in European Collective Memory – Romain Fathi: ‘A Piece of Australia in France’: Australian Authorities and the Commemoration of Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in the Last Decade – Shanti Sumartojo: Anzac Kinship and National Identity on the Australian Remembrance Trail.

Review of Romain Fathi: Représentations muséales du corps combattant de 14-18

Représentations muséales du corps combattant de 14-18: The Australian War Memorial de Canberra au prisme de l’Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne

RMCC1

In this study of the Australian War Memorial through the optic of the Historial at Péronne in Northern France, Romain Fathi offers a fascinating reflection on the contrasting orientation of the two institutions towards the representation of war. This is not a comparative study in the strict sense of the term since Fathi recognises that they are not strictly comparable – the mission of each, the period of their inauguration, the scope of their collections., are very different, as the titles of the institutions reveal. The Memorial, inaugurated in 1941, was raised to record, commemorate and celebrate the service of soldiers in Australia’s external wars; the Historial, opened in 1992, was the result of a conscious and considered decision by historians to avoid heroisation of war and to induce reflection on the way WWI has been represented. However Fathi, through establishing a series of analytical oppositions that he sees as uncovering the fundamental characteristics of each, demonstrates how revealing it is to study each institution in the context of the other.

His main focus, as the title suggests, is on the representations of the soldier’s body: the way that war is enacted by bodies and its effect on bodies, and his guiding thread in undertaking the comparison is the opposition between verticality and horizontality. At the AWM the soldier is typically represented holding himself erect or in an active, attacking position, confronting the enemy head on, exposing himself to danger, sacrificing himself in a heroic élan that is a conscious choice. At Péronne, through the device of displaying much of the material in a series of ditches sunk into the floor, the emphasis is on the horizontality of war fought in the trenches. The soldiers are not represented as heroic figures in frontal combat but as mere elements of uniform, laid out in the earth, drab as camouflage demanded. The items displayed at Péronne bear mute witness to the inequality of a combat that pitched heavy artillery against the almost defenceless human body.  At the AWM, however, the injured are usually depicted in ways that minimise the dismemberment, blood and gore of battle.

Péronne displays the modernity of this war that was without precedent, the anonymous nature of the struggle that saw men wiped out by an invisible enemy, its industrial nature. The AWM continues the epic tradition, representing combat (notably in the dioramas to which Bean attached such importance) as a series of battles with visible enemies. The dioramas, pictures and sculptures chosen or commissioned for the Memorial drew on a traditional artistic vocabulary of heroic military conduct. Fathi devotes considerable attention to the sculptures of Simpson and his donkey, using this case study to demonstrate, through a study of the letters exchanged between the instigators of the Memorial and the artists, that the latter had to conform to certain constraints concerning ‘what the public expected to see’.

The author draws upon a wide range of material to illustrate and substantiate his argument: correspondence; visitors’ books; the comments of museum guides and personnel; tours for children that offer ‘real-life’ experiences of wartime conditions. He explores how the physical characteristics of the institutions: the layout of the buildings and disposition of the rooms (an important passage on the significance of the room devoted to the Victoria Crosses won by Australians), together with the selection and display of items, all combine, he argues, to orient the visitor towards a certain experience of war. The gap between representation and interpretation can be wide, however, and, as Fathi recognises (170), he cannot be sure what message the visitors are in fact taking away with them. This is one of a number of intriguing questions raised by this study, for future consideration. To offer another example, since among the historians responsible for the Historial was a group who argued for the existence of ‘patriotic consent’ amongst the belligerents (68), it would be interesting to explore what impact this theoretical orientation may have had on the collections and presentation at Peronne.

The AWM offers a rich field for reflection on the multiple ways in which commemorative, political and military imperatives and priorities impact on the design and functioning of a museum.  The final chapter brings the story of the Memorial up to the present with an analysis of the mutually beneficial relationship forged between recent Australian Prime Ministers and the AWM, a relationship that accords legitimacy to the politician and the assurance of funds to the Memorial (which is financed by a special Government grant).

Recognising that a museum is oriented to the present and the future as much as to the past, Fathi poses finally the question of the model of citizenship the AWM promotes, arguing that it seeks to instill a sense of civic virtue based on self-sacrifice and an incitement to emulation in the young. In this regard it is interesting to note that last year’s AWM report stated that it had achieved 125,800 student visits in 2010-11, the highest number ever recorded.

Représentations muséales makes a very valuable contribution to the fields of Museum and Memory Studies, sharpening our awareness of the role that the diverse features of the War Museum – design of the building, displays, artwork, literature – play in constructing narratives of conflict.

Paris. L’Harmattan, 2013

ISBN : 978-2-336-00579-9

22 euros (print)

16 euros (Adobe digital edition)

Elizabeth Rechniewski, University of Sydney

 

 

Histories of Forgetting

Now in print, the latest issue of E-rea, Aix-Marseille University’s electronic journal of anglophone studies, takes as its theme Histories of Forgetting in the English and French-speaking Worlds, 20th-21st centuries:

http://erea.revues.org/2734
Co-edited by Matthew Graves (LERMA/APMC) and Valérie André (LERMA), issue 10.1 brings together researchers from France, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland who explore, from a transdisciplinary social and human sciences perspective, the lacunae in collective memory and the lost, concealed or censored episodes of the national past; those ‘forgotten’ histories that persist in counterpoint to canonical histories and conventional narratives of identity or which, once reconverted, may be used to underwrite them.

Histories of ‘forgotten’ conflicts feature prominently, with case studies drawn from the First and Second World Wars, including the struggle for the recognition of Australia’s aboriginal veterans, as well as the strategic forgetting of colonial pasts in Africa and Ireland.

“What is interesting about the latest issue of the online journal E-rea is how it redirects our attention towards European fields of memory which are less familiar than the French or German – the Northern Irish for instance – while also looking beyond Europe at Australia’s collective memory which has long been scarred by the strategic forgetting of the aboriginal past.” Emmanuel Laurentin, La Fabrique de l’Histoire, France Culture, 11/01/2013

https://www.franceculture.fr/blog-la-semaine-historique-d-emmanuel-laurentin-2013-01-11-la-semaine-du-110113

General editor: Prof. Sylvie Mathé (LERMA/AMU)

Contents

Editors: Matthew Graves & Valérie André (AMU)

Introduction:  Histories of Forgetting in the English and French-speaking Worlds, 20th-21st centuries.

I. The Colonial Past, between Forgetting and Re-appropriation

Robert Aldrich (USYD), Commemorating Colonialism in a Post-Colonial World.

Virginie Bernard (CREDO/EHESS), The Forgotten : exemple de réappropriation aborigène de lhistoire officielle australienne.

II. War Memory, from Erasure to Remembrance

Deirdre Gilfedder (Paris XI), The Imperial Nature of the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

Ciaran Wallace  (UCD), Between Remembering and Forgetting: Ireland and the Boer War.

Elizabeth Rechniewski (USYD), Forgetting and Remembering the Darwin Bombings.

III. Difficult Pasts and Reconciliation

Stanislas Hommet (UCaen), Enseigner les passes douloureux en Europe: entre oubli et hypermnésie, quelle place pour lenseignement? Présentation dun projet européen de recherche.

Karine Bigand (AMU), Peace in History and Heritage. Some thoughts on Northern Ireland.

Fabrice Mourlon (Paris XIII), Official responses to dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.

IV. Rewriting History in the Era of Commemoration

Catherine Delmas (Grenoble III), Remembering place, revisiting the past.

( …)

 

The Great War archive online (“Europeana collections 1914-1918”)

The “Europeana Collections 1914-1918” program  is an online corpus dedicated to the Great War. Europeana Collections 1914-1918 will create by 2014 – the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War – a substantial digital collection of material from national library collections of ten libraries and other partners in eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict.

Here is an article (in French) by Sylvie Lisiecki  about this new archive tool by the French National Library magazine (Chroniques de la BNF, n°64).

The website can be consulted here: http://www.europeana-collections-1914-1918.eu