LeeAnn Whites's picture
Call for Papers
January 30, 2017
Kentucky, United States
Subject Fields: 
Human Rights, Military History, American History / Studies, Political History / Studies


October 26 -28, 2017

Filson Historical Society

Louisville, KY


Conference Conveners:

Lorien Foote, Texas A & M:

Daniel Krebs, University of Louisville:


The Filson Historical Society’s Institute For Advanced Study proposes a three day academic conference that will explore the experience of POWs in all American conflicts since the colonial period. The conference aims to advance our understanding of the integral role prisoners of war played in the economic, cultural, political and military waging of American wars. In commemoration of the centennial of World War I, the conference conveners are particularly interested in presentations that focus on this era.  We would also like to encourage research on the history of the Ohio Valley.   We encourage graduate students to apply.

Too often prisoners of war have been considered by historians to be a special, separate topic.  If discussed at all, POWs make only a brief appearance in legal histories or in the history of POW policies or histories of POW camps.  They show up as sums in casualty lists or are discussed as a burden on military resources, creating more mouths to feed, house and guard.  This conference proposes to consider prisoners of war as more than simply casualties, losers or victims by examining the range of ways in which POWs played an active role in the conduct and outcome of America's military encounters. 

We are interested in the way the handling of POWs decided campaigns and operations, the range of roles that POWs filled both on and off the battlefield – as hostages, consumers, laborers, propaganda tools, and means of communication, to mention only a few.  At the same time we will be looking to move toward an integration of the POW experience into the larger narratives and problems of political, military and social history.

The organizers of the conference seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of questions related to expanding the definition of the place of POWs in the waging of war:

  • POWs and Military Campaigns
  • POWs and Strategy
  • POWs and Diplomacy
  • POWs and the Economy
  • POWs and Post-War Memory
  • POWs and the Politics of Warfare
  • POWs and Gender
  • POWs and Race
  • POWs and Community Studies
  • POWs and Propaganda
  • POWs and Consumer Culture
  • POWs and Empire
  • POWs and Globalization
  • POWs and Migration
  • POWs and Labor
  • POWs and Health Care

A selection of revised essays from the conference will be published in an anthology that will be co-edited by Lorien Foote and Daniel Krebs.

Please send a proposal of no more than one page clearly outlining the subject, arguments and relevance to the conference topic, along with a CV of no more than two pages to LeeAnn Whites, Director of Research, The Filson Historical Society, (

Proposal deadline is January 30, 2017, email submission preferred.  Single papers or conference panels are welcome.  For panel proposals please provide a one page summary of the panel in addition to paper proposals and vitas from each participant.  A keynote address will take place on Thursday evening; the conference will meet in consecutive plenary sessions, with three sessions each day.  Papers will be placed on line on the The Filson Historical Society’s website prior to the conference.  Funds will be available to help defray some travel costs for presenters. 

For questions concerning the conference, please contact Dr. LeeAnn Whites at the email address above or consult the Filson website at:




Contact Info: 

LeeAnn Whites, Director of Research, Filson Historical Society, Louisville, KY  40208