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CFP: 2014 Design History Society Annual Conference

Design for War and Peace
Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 September 2014
University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education
Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA

2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, will be an apposite moment in which to reflect upon the relationship of design and craft to conflict. International and interdisciplinary scholarship burgeoned amidst the world conflicts of the twentieth-century and their aftermath. The construction of ‘collective memory’ proposed by Maurice Hallbwachs in The Social Frameworks of Memory 1925 and Marc Bloch’s rebuttal emerged amidst the interwar reassessment of the ‘war to end all wars’ and the ensuing internment of these scholars in the concentration camps of the Second World War. The paradigm shifting analyses of nationalism and identity produced by Benedict Anderson; Eric Hobsbawm; Paul Fussell; Pierre Nora reverberated not only with the long shadow of these world wars, but also the protest and peace movements of the 1968 and post-Vietnam War Era. The objects produced for war and peace offer a vibrant site for examining these debates. Academic scholarship has constellated particularly around ‘fine art’ media (painting, commemorative sculpture, etc.) or conflict landscape archaeology; the critical analysis of the historical evidence of design, craft and material culture is still emerging from technical or statistical data focussed publications or as its role as illustration within theoretical, literary studies and historical scholarship. The roles of digital technologies, oral history as well as site and collection management in enriching and redirecting pedagogic strategies for teaching and researching the history of design for war and peace will be another important strand. This conference would seek to bring together researchers from the many disciplines within design history to develop methodological approaches and explorations of a wider range of objects; a more diverse geography of theatres of conflicts and temporality, juxtaposing the often segregated methodologies war and peace studies.

Individual papers are welcome; proposals of a panel of speakers addressing inter-related themes are also encouraged.

Please send an abstract (no more than 500 words) and a brief CV (one page) by email by 1 February 2014 to