Urban Experiences of the Great War in Eastern Europe

Oksana Dudko's picture
June 23, 2016 to June 25, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies, Urban History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Urban Experiences of the Great War in Eastern Europe



Center for Urban History (Lviv, Ukraine)

Center for Polish and European Studies, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy,” (Kyiv, Ukraine)

University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada)


Dates: June 23–25, 2016


Location: Center for Urban History, Lviv, Ukraine


Duration: 3 days (2 workshop days and 1 tour day)



April 11, 2016 for proposals

May 31, 2016 for pre-circulated papers



The First World War I Centenary prompted new themes and perspectives in war studies. Due to new research, conferences, workshops, and various public events, scholarship has begun to go far beyond the Western front and the study of the imperial dimensions of war. Also, several major studies have appeared in recent years that reexamine the role of the Eastern theatre in war. Scholars have even begun discussing “the Eastern turn” in World War I studies, and yet, Eastern European researchers still tend to view the entangled history of the Eastern Front in terms of separate national historiographies. This workshop will bring together multilingual and cross-disciplinary scholars to investigate the intertwined history of the Eastern front. The focus of the workshop is Eastern European cities and towns, where moving fronts and the blurred borders of empires consistently influenced city life, established new sets of rules and orders for inhabitants, and created a vibrant space for intercultural encounters, transfers, and interactions. The workshop is especially interested in research on Eastern European cities and towns, that addresses the larger questions of studying wartime urban environments, and that go beyond narrow national frameworks by bringing in transnational and global approaches.


The “Urban Experiences of the Great War in Eastern Europe” workshop is the first in a two-part series. The first workshop is organized by the Center for Urban History in Lviv. The second workshop will take place in Kyiv at the Center for Polish and European Studies in autumn 2017. It will focus on the urban experience in times of revolutions, civil wars and unrest from 1917 to the early 1920s in Eastern Europe and beyond.



Themes and Topics


The workshop will be organized around three main themes:


  • Encounters and interactions between soldiers and civilians, locals and POW’s, refugees, different social and national groups, urban and rural, etc.
  • Transfers of people, ideas, culture, and goods within the home front, between the rear and the battlefields; beyond official borders of empires, states, etc.
  • Transformation of urban spaces and landscapes.


We invite scholars to present their research related to, but not limited to the following topics:

- City governance, including periods of siege, conquest, occupation, liberation, and unrest;

- Mobilization and labor market development;

- Organization of military and civilian supplies, logistics, communication within cities and towns, and between home front and battlefield;

- Health care policy: hospitals for wounded soldiers, charities and city hospitals; infection prevention and control of epidemics;

- Communication and interactions between urban and rural territories.

- Forced resettlement, refugees, prisoners of war, and population change;

- Violence, riots, upheavals, pogroms, pillages, ravages;

- Individual experiences and survival strategies of city-dwellers;

- Children’s experience of war, wartime childhood;

- City culture and entertainment;

- Identity changes within the frameworks of gender, regional (urban vs. rural), social, national, etc.;

- Gender challenges: questioning and refashioning “male” and “female” on the home front, in war and under occupation;

- Transformations of city landscapes, rearranging of public spaces and buildings, demolition, damage, renovation;

- Streets and squares as a political, social, cultural, and religious space.


Structure of the Workshop


We aim to bring together a group of scholars from different countries in order to facilitate international cooperation and communication. Designed as an intensive workshop built around a comparatively small group of participants, it will provide an especially interactive and inspiring environment, encouraging participants to have vivid and open discussions. Therefore, we ask each participant to present a pre-circulated paper and to receive comments from a discussant as well as from other participants. This atmosphere will offer participants the chance to further refine and revise their approaches and interpretations for future publication of their papers. The publication we envisage will be either a collective volume, or a special issue of an academic journal.


Furthermore, the conference organizers will guide a field trip to selected WWI commemorative sites in Galicia.


How to apply

We welcome individual proposals and ask that the following information be included:

 Title

 Abstract (up to 500 words)

 Short bio (up to 150 words)

 Contact information


Deadline for submission: April 11, 2016.

Proposals should be sent to: conferences@lvivcenter.org with the subject “The Great War Workshop”


Successful applicants will be notified by mid-March, 2016, and will be expected to send a short paper (up to 10 pages or 4,500-5,000 words) based on their presentations by May 31, 2016. The papers will be sent to the discussants and to the rest of the group. We plan to publish selected papers as either a separate volume, or as a thematic edition of a peer-reviewed periodical.




We invite researchers from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to history, anthropology, geography, peace and conflict studies, literature, performing arts, media studies and related disciplines. Advanced PhD students and young researchers from Eastern Europe are especially encouraged to apply and contribute.


The working language of the workshop is English.


Program Costs

The organizers will cover accommodation, meals in Lviv, and excursions within the program. There is limited funding for travel. Therefore we ask you to indicate if you need financial support, and when possible, to inquire about additional conference funding from your home institutions.





Contact Info: 


Oksana Dudko


Center for Urban History of East Central Europe



Olena Betliy


Center for Polish and European Studies of National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”



Serhy Yekelchyk


University of Victoria

Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies