This project will investigate the reconstitution of urban communities in Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. It will thus produce an urban history of the transition from war to peace. Based on a longitudinal study of communities affected by military operations on the battlefields of France and Belgium, it will reveal some of the critical implications of the prosecution of “total war” in Europe. The research will investigate the resettlement of war veterans and refugees in the localities and regions laid to waste by the conflict. It will explore previously neglected aspects of the reconstruction to supplement conventional approaches to the post-war stabilization of Western Europe.
A genuinely comparative and transnational project, it will build on recent studies of cultural and political demobilization after WWI to
combine the history of “sorties de guerre” with a renewed approach to the reconstruction of formerly belligerent societies. This project will depart from traditionally state-centred accounts to combine local and transnational perspectives on the reconstruction and demobilization of belligerent societies.
The project will also adopt an interdisciplinary approach and engage with a range of other social sciences including sociology and urban
planning, archaeology, anthropology, as well as with specialists of conflict resolution and peace building. Looking forward to the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, the Fellow, with the support of the host institutions, will lay the foundation of a larger collaborative project which will cut across frontlines to investigate the recovery of urban communities along the Western and Eastern fronts. This project, as well as the outreach initiatives devised to disseminate its results, will therefore challenge national myths and historiographical exceptionalisms to integrate differentiated experiences through the systematic use of comparative and transnational frameworks of analysis.
This project is funded by the European Union’s Marie Curie programme and hosted at Yale and Trinity College, Dublin (2013-2015)