CfP: Visual and Material Histories of Military Labour

Call for Proposals, deadline 14 August 2023

Call for Proposals: Visual and Material Histories of Military Labour

The European Labour History Network’s (ELHN) Military Labour History Working Group is inviting chapter proposals for an edited volume on the Visual and Material Histories of Military Labour.

How do we write military history from labour perspectives? Or how do we write labour history with military sources? Labour historians have critically engaged with military sources by investigating them through feminist, anti-racist, and decolonized lenses, as well as by using new sources to document civilian experiences of war, military occupation, resistance to the military, and the militarization of everyday life. Expanding on these new directions, this edited volume seeks to create a new discussion on visual materials of military labour as sources of historiography and of new theoretical interventions.

We welcome any historical studies (the 1600/1700s onwards) that make innovative interpretations of such sources as paintings, drawings, photographs, posters, advertisements, cartoons, film, video, sculpture and architecture, as well as material objects, like memorabilia. We also welcome studies that critically engage with the ideas of visuality and provide new perspectives on visuality and materiality of military labour. Together, we aim to generate new theoretical and methodological discussions on visuality and materiality of military labour history across time and space. The edited volume is anticipated to be published with a Europe or North America-based academic press specializing in labour history.

We strive to make this project as collaborative as possible and, to that end, we will organize a series of online workshops where the contributors will share their work-in-progress and comment on the other papers. The workshops will serve as platforms to collectively develop the overarching theoretical framework of the volume, and expect them to be held between October 2023 and May 2024. Each workshop will be devoted to one section of the book (3-4 chapters) and the rest of the contributors will provide constructive feedback on the papers. Invited contributors are encouraged to attend as many workshops as possible, with consideration given to the different time zones. The final schedule for each workshop will be determined based on the locations and availability of the participants. A time commitment of 3-4 hours for the preparation for and attendance at each workshop is expected.

Topics might include, but are not limited to, visual/material analyses of military labour that focus on:

  • Gender and sexuality/LGBTQIA in the military
  • Femininities and masculinities
  • Intimacy, family and domestic relationships
  • Early modern military labour
  • Military recruitment and resistance (including anti-war/peace movement/mutinies)
  • Lived experience of military labour (e.g., soldiering as labour, transition from civilian to soldier or vice versa, free/unfree/coerced
  • labour)
  • Military labour and environmental changes
  • Intersectionality of military labour (race, ethnicity, class, and gender among others)
  • Civilians/civilian labour in the military
  • New theoretical frameworks on visuality and visual/material history of military labour

Papers that address more than one of the above themes are also welcome.

How to submit: Please submit a 500-word abstract along with a short bio (150-200 words, please include your ORCID, institutional profile page or personal website if applicable) to by August 14, 2023. Please contact the editors with any inquiries at The results will be notified in September 2023.

Expected Timeline (subject to change)

  • Proposal deadline: August 14, 2023
  • Notification of the results: by the end of September 2023
  • Workshops (via Zoom): October 2023-May 2024
  • Full manuscript: September 2024
  • Publication: 2025

Editorial Team

  • Bettina Blum, Paderborn University, Germany
  • Jeongmin Kim, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • Christine de Matos, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Olli Siitonen, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Alexandros Touloumtzidis, University of Patras, Greece