[URBANTH-L]CFP: Doing Anthropology in Wartime and War Zones

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Tue Jul 25 17:58:44 EDT 2006

Doing Anthropology in Wartime and War Zones 

Interdisciplinary conference organized by the Collaborative Research 
Center (SFB) and by the Ludwig Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural 
Studies at the University of Tuebingen, December 7-9, 2006 in 
Tuebingen, Germany 

The conference’s aim is to explore the connection between modern war 
and the anthropological disciplines. The theme is therefore not the 
anthropology of war itself (as a universal human phenomenon), but 
rather war as an experiential space and science as social action within 
that space. The rise of globalized, modern warfare produced 
intercultural encounters on an unprecedented scale, and 
anthropologists/ethnologists saw themselves as experts for “foreign 
culture”. Based on our knowledge of the links between this nascent 
academic discipline and empire-building, the conference seeks to 
discuss how this connection was carried over into the situation of 
world war. Where did scientific practices formed under the conditions 
of colonialist expansion continue and where did they cease or become 
modified by war experience? 

For this reason, the historical focus of the conference will be on the 
years leading up to and including the First World War as a critical 
juncture in the development, specialization, and institutionalization 
of the anthropological sciences. How does war limit, change, but also 
support and make possible ethnographic research practices? What kinds 
of experiences do anthropologists have as participants in the war 
effort and/or as victims of it? What effect does the war have on the 
direction anthropology takes as a scholarly discipline, in particular 
for the increasing specialization and thus drifting apart of its 
various subfields? Papers which go beyond the focus of the era of the 
First World War are warmly welcomed, but for the sake of comparability, 
they should focus on wars and/or violent conflicts in which 
nation-states are involved. 

The conference would particularly like to address the issue of how 
modern war offered anthropologists and related disciplines specific 
spaces created by warfare, thereby opening new fields of research. In 
the material as well as the discursive sense, war creates its own 
spaces and places, such as prisoner-of-war camps, refugee camps, cities 
under siege or as battle zones, occupied territories, frontlines, enemy 
territory. At the same time, certain geographical areas and their 
indigenous populations were symbolically constructed as war zones or 
regions of endemic warfare, such as the Balkans or the Caucasus. Papers 
from any relevant field are invited which address and analyze issues of 
ethnographic practices involved in creating such war zones and/or 
scholarly activities undertaken in spaces created by and in wartime. 

Proposals may be submitted from any of the applicable fields, e.g. 
anthropology, history, history of science, etc. Please submit an 
abstract of no more than 500 words and a short CV by email, if 
possible, by July 31, 2006 to: 

reinhard.johler at uni-tuebingen.de
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Johler
Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft
72074 Tuebingen

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