2017 Narratives of War Symposium: Generations of War – Call for Papers

Narratives of War SymposiumConflict is an ever-present element of the human condition; it fascinates us and it horrifies us. Because it is so central to our existence, cultures and societies study conflict – and write about it – in an attempt to understand it and (perhaps) control it. The Narratives of War (NoW) Research Group has endeavoured to contribute to that understanding through the efforts of its members, but especially through its biennial symposium at the University of South Australia.  For 2017, NoW has been joined by a like-minded organisation, the South Australian branch of the Military Historical Society of Australia (MHSA), to present an expanded, more wide-ranging conference – Generations of War.

The conference represents a blending of the national conference of the MHSA with NoW’s symposium, to produce three days of stimulating presentations and discussion around the conference theme, Generations of War. Each new generation experiences conflict – and especially war – in a new and different context. The technological aspects of today’s conflicts, for example, require knowledge and skills that would have been unthinkable in the Great War. Yet some things are common to all wars – people die, science advances and acts noble and ignoble are produced. The Generations of War conference gives voice to narratives new and old and in so doing, we hope, adds to our understanding of the human condition.

Papers, and suggestions for panels, are invited which explore these themes. Abstracts of 250 words should be presented with the presenter’s full name, affiliation, contact details (email, telephone) and a 100 word biography of the author by 31 July 2017.

Abstracts should be directed to NarrativesOfWar@unisa.edu.au

Any further enquiries can be directed to: julie.white@unisa.edu.au or 08 8302 4799.


The Narratives of War (NOW) research group is an interdisciplinary research collective at the University of South Australia that has an overall focus on comprehending the representation of war, peace, conflict and reconciliation, encompassing representations in literature, historical accounts, personal records, film and digital media, journalism, reporting, art and so on. Its interest is not in military history per se but in the way in which the individual and collective experience of organised violence has been described, depicted, memorialised and commemorated – thus the overall notion of ‘narratives’ – and in examining the social effects of such framing. The group has a commitment to community and end-user engagement which it demonstrates through its biennial symposium being open to the wider community and through collaborations with ex-service organisations, government departments, the defence industry and the community at large.

The Military Historical Society of Australia was founded in Melbourne in 1957.  Its aims are the encouragement and pursuit of study and research in military history, customs, traditions, dress, arms, equipment and kindred matters; the promotion of public interest and knowledge in these subjects, and the preservation of historical military objects with particular reference to the armed forces of Australia.

The Symposium has been sponsored by Veterans SA.