CfP: The global challenge of peace: 1919 as a contested threshold to a new world order

Call for papers, deadline 11 January 2019


Call for Papers:

‘The global challenge of peace: 1919 as a contested threshold to a new world order’,

17-18 May 2019, Newcastle University.

Keynote speakers:

Tyler Stovall (Distinguished Professor of History, Dean of Humanities, University of California Santa Cruz, Past President of the American Historical Association).

John Horne (Emeritus Fellow, former Professor of Modern European History, Trinity College Dublin, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, 2016-17).


This conference will scrutinize the events of 1919 from below: the global underside of the Wilsonian moment. During 1919 the Great Powers redrew the map of the world with the Treaties of Paris and established the League of Nations intending to prevent future war. Yet what is often missed is that 1919 was a complex threshold between war and peace that was contested by a variety of social and political forces and that that contestation like the war itself had a global scale. This year might be conceived of as a transnational wave of contestation. This process began prior to war’s end with mutinies, labour and consumer unrest, colonial revolt but reached a high point in 1919. Most obviously, the Russian Revolutions of 1917 (which should not be seen as an exclusively European affair) continued into 1919 which signalled a decisive year for the Bolshevik regime. The Irish Republic was declared. Afghanistan gained independence. Labour unrest was widespread. Post-colonial scholarship can complicate traditional narratives of 1919 from below. This year witnessed the emergence of anti-colonial insurgency and movements across Europe’s colonies (notably Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Egypt, India, Ireland, Korea, Morocco); in metropolitan centres of Empire, race riots took place in the UK and during the ‘red summer’ in the US, anti-colonial movements, as well as an important moment of political enfranchisement for women but their expulsion from the wartime labour force. 1919 has many legacies: the first Arab spring, with the awakening of nationalism in the Wilsonian and Bolshevik context; the moment (as a consequence of Jallianwala Bagh) that Britain definitively lost its moral claim to India; the definitive announcement of Black presence in the UK; the great reversal of women’s participation in the skilled occupations; the first Fascist movement was founded. We are looking to address the following questions:

  • Are local instances of mutiny, military repression, race riot, peasant revolt, or labour unrest amenable to wider comparison?

  • How did contentious politics reshape metropolitan-colonial relationships in 1919?

  • How did race, gender, class and nationality intersect at the micro- and macro- scales?

  • Can post-colonial, global and transnational approaches help with a re-evaluation of 1919?

  • How did the post-war re-emergence of transnational networks, conferences and activism affect the pattern of contentious politics?

  • How did 1919 contribute to remaking political ideologies with the emergence of both fascism and international communism?

  • How did military/civilian dynamics shape matters, with the return and demobilisation of millions of military personnel?

  • How did the contentious politics context shape high politics at national and international level?

We invite individual papers of 20 minutes or panels of three colleagues. We welcome submissions from PhD students and ECRs and may be in a position to provide some help in terms of travel and accommodation in the shape of bursaries. Please contact the organisers.

Please send brief CV and abstract of 250 words to: [Deadline: 11 January 2019].

Conference website:

Conference organisers: Matt Perry and Rob Dale. Supported by: Labour and Society Research Group and Conflict and Revolution research strand (Newcastle University).