CfP: Revolutionary experiences: transforming the personal and the political in wars against fascism 1936-49

Department of History and the Centre for War, State and Society, University of Exeter
6-7 July, 2017
Convenors: Dr Ana Antic, University of Exeter, and Dr Carl-Henrik Bjerstrom, University of Leeds

This workshop aims to explore the intersections between the personal and the political in the experiences of antifascist fighters in the 1930s and 1940s. The mid-twentieth-century wars against fascism were profoundly transformative on multiple levels; they produced seismic social, political and economic changes throughout Europe, and in many cases, they impacted forcefully on their participants’ political and cultural identities. Consequently, wartime experiences often led to radical personal transformations and left a lasting legacy on fighters’ personal trajectories.

In many ways, the achievement of such personal transformations was an integral part of the fight against fascism. To reach this fundamental goal, anti-fascist resistance movements across Europe launched mass campaigns of political education and cultural mobilisation and experimented with various forms of radical political participation. Thus, for many participants, the war was not only a military struggle but a complex experience through which they became conscious political subjects.

This workshop will engage with core aspects of these revolutionary experiences. We invite proposals for papers addressing one or more of the following questions: What practices of political participation did antifascist resistance movements develop and how did these differ across Europe? What strategies did they adopt to enable marginalised populations to enter the political sphere? How were ideological goals reflected in resistance organisations’ educational and cultural programmes, and how were these programmes shaped by the fact of mass participation? What did ideology and political concepts mean to grassroots participants in antifascist struggles, and how did their understanding of politics change as a result of the war? Finally, how did these wartime lessons in radical political citizenship shape veterans’ post-war lives and political participation?

Please send a 300-word abstract and a brief bio (including contact details and institutional affiliation) to and/or by 15 April 2017. We will notify everyone of the outcome by the end of April.

More information to follow on:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.