Call for Papers: War hecatomb: effects on health, demography and modern thought (19th-21st centuries)

Diana Barbosa Announcement
Subject Fields
Contemporary History, Demographic History / Studies, Health and Health Care, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

War hecatomb: effects on health, demography and modern thought (19th-21st centuries)
Lisbon, 19-20 June 2017


Organisation: Institute of Contemporary History - FCSH/NOVA
Venue: FCSH/NOVA, Lisbon (Portugal)
Deadline for proposals: 15th of February 2017


Since the 19th century until nowadays several wars marked History, which effects are still present in the collective memory. The different military conflicts had a direct impact on health of military as well as civilians, namely of the families that stayed far from the conflicts. In a way, there were an important number of casualties, and in another way, those that were wounded, invalid and sick had to return home, trying to reintegrate themselves in the society. Sometimes, unconsciously, they transmitted illnesses contracted in the battle fields to their families. Furthermore, conflicts changed material and moral conditions, with consequences in the agricultural, industrial and commercial production, as well as in public health and in population behaviours.

This conference aims to contribute to a deep reflection on the consequences of wars on health of civil and military populations and the consequent demographic effects. What was the evolution of military and civil mortality, including infant mortality during and after a conflict? At what extend did wars caused sex ratio’s imbalances, age structure modifications or accelerations in demographic ageing? In what way was fertility affected? Some studies mention an increase in the number of divorces and couples separations in the after-war, whilst others insist in a quick recovery of the matrimonial market. So, how did react, for instance, unmarried brides or war widows?

We know that, quite often, the same conflict produced different demographic consequences according with the belligerent nations. Therefore, it is essential to promote comparative studies between countries and even between regions of the same State. We can also question ourselves about the society’s responses to face demographic cataclysms, especially through the enlargement and reconstitution of the matrimonial market.

In the after-war periods, it is common to see different actions linked with health issues, in public or private spheres. These actions led, for example, to the creation of hospitals for wounded or homes for war-orphans, the creation of special lotteries or multiple events to raise funds to help sick veterans and their families. On another hand, a legislative body emerged to protect invalid veterans, in an effort to socially reintegrate them. How did the authorities of different countries responded to the consequences of a military conflict in health and demography? Did central powers or local authorities act to face demographic changes? How modern thought was shaped by the State and public opinion?

Without an exclusive focus on the two world wars and considering that other major conflicts had direct effects in demography, health and in the modern thought, this conference aims to open the historiographic debate in this almost yet unexplored topic, underlining the situation of countries that did not always played a main role in the military conflicts.


We welcome proposals for papers or panels on health, demography and modern thought, namely on the following topics:

– Health and public or private reactions;
– Demographic effects and self-regulatory mechanisms;
– Wars and social policies;
– Families and communities’ roles facing crisis;
– Armed conflicts and the modern thought.

Proposals for papers should include the proponent’s name and surname, communication title, abstract (up to 500 words), keywords (up to 5), institutional affiliation, contacts and a brief biographical note. Proposals for panels should also include the discussant (if different from the proponent) and what communications will be presented in the panel, according to the information mentioned above.

The working languages of this congress are English and Portuguese. There will be no simultaneous translation, and communications via Skype will not be accepted.

Proposals should be sent to until the 15th February 2017.



10,00 € – students
20,00 € – other researchers; general public


Keynote speakers:

Ioan Bolovan (Babeş-Bolyai University)
José Miguel Sardica (Faculdade de Ciências Humanas da UCP)


Organising committee:

Helena da Silva (IHC-FCSH/NOVA, GRIC-Université du Havre)
Paulo Teodoro de Matos (CHAM-FCSH/NOVA)


Scientific committee:

Ana Paula Pires (IHC-FCSH/NOVA, Stanford University)
Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux (EHESS-CNRS)
Diego Ramiro Fariñas (CSIC)
Helena da Silva (IHC-FCSH/NOVA, GRIC-Université du Havre)
Ioan Bolovan (Babeş-Bolyai University)
Luís Andrade (CHAM-FCSH/NOVA)
Paulo Teodoro de Matos (CHAM-FCSH/NOVA)



Contact Information

For any inquiries, please contact the organising committee:

Contact Email