Cultural Exchange in a Time of Global Conflict: Colonials, Neutrals and Belligerents during the First World War

Conferences and Workshops

Call for Community-Led Projects

Commemoration of Armistice (Friday 11 November 2016)

The Weston Room, Maughan Library, King’s College London


One collaborative output of the CEGC project is a poster exhibition (information coming soon), showcasing the life trajectories of 12 individuals – some famous, some not – who lived through these extraordinary times, and whose experiences illustrate the global and varied nature of the Great War.

The London leg of the exhibition will be held from Monday 24 October until Saturday 17 December in the Weston Room in the Maughan Library at King’s College London.

Applications are sought from interested community-led groups to use this space for specially curated activities relating to the colonial or dominion contribution to the First World War on Friday 11 November to mark the anniversary of Armistice. Examples might include performances, sessions presenting your work, or workshops.

Please note that the project is unable to provide any funding to support these activities.

Applications must be received by 9am on Monday 5 September 2016. Download application form. For further information, please get in touch.

Programme Announcement

Cultural Encounters during Global War, 1914-1918: Traces, Spaces, Legacies

London Conference 21-22 January 2016

Hamilton Collection, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London

Hamilton Collection, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London

Jointly organised by ‘Cultural Exchange in a Time of Global Conflict: Colonials, Neutrals and Belligerents during the First World War’ (CEGC) & The German Historical Institute London


For more information, visit the event page.

Programme Announcement

Colonialism, War & Photography

17 September 2015, King’s College London



9.15 – 9.30              King’s College, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Welcome & Opening Keynote

9.30 – 10.45            Welcome by Santanu Das & Daniel Steinbach

Opening Keynote by

Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University

Doing History: Some thoughts on evidence, presence and a critical forensics of photographs

Coffee break

Session 1

11.00 – 12.30          Silvan Niedermeier, Universität Erfurt

Colonial Selfies: Private Photography and the Construction of Imperial Subject Positions in the Philippine-American War (1899-1902)

Daniel Steinbach, King’s College London

Snaps from Africa: Amateur Photographs by British Soldiers during the First World War

Paul Fox, University of York

A Privatised Sense of the Past Gone Public: Royal Flying Corps Photograph Albums and the Memory of Air Operations in Egypt


Session 2

13.30 – 15.20          Anaïs Raynaud, Musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux

A photographic Empire: French Colonials in the Collections of the Museum of the Great War – a Formal Analysis

Gregory Hynes, University of Oxford

Exotic or Familiar? Depictions of Imperial Racial Difference in Official British Wartime Photographic Propaganda

Sadia McEvoy, King’s College London

Al-Haqīqah: Photographic propaganda and the Muslim World during the Great War

Larissa Schmid, Freie Universität Berlin / Zentrum Moderner Orient

“A trip around the world“: Photography and colonial Prisoners of War in Germany during World War One

Comfort break

Session 3

15.30 – 17.00          Anna Maguire, King’s College London

Zulu War Dances on French Beaches: Representations of the South African Native Labour Corps in France

Anne Samson, Great War in Africa Association

The Wartime Experience of Two Official Photographers in East Africa, 1915-1917

Nicole Jordan, University of Illinois/ Center for European Studies, Harvard

Two Small Photographs from the Great War: R.A. Reiss’s Representations of Monástir in Macedonia, 1917

Tea break


17.15 – 18.30          Plenary Paper by

Jay Winter, Yale University: Photographing War

General Discussion

Contact & Enquiries: Daniel Steinbach, King’s College London,


Call for Papers for an Interdisciplinary Conference on

Cultural Encounters during Global War, 1914-1918:         

Traces, Spaces, Legacies

Date:            21 – 23 January 2016

Place:           London, United Kingdom

Convenors: Dr Santanu Das, King’s College London

                   Prof Andreas Gestrich, German Historical Institute

                   Dr Daniel Steinbach, King’s College London

The First World War resulted in an unprecedented range of encounters between peoples from different ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. Soldiers from across the globe travelled to different theatres of war – Europe, the Middle East, East Africa, Egypt, Gallipoli – where they not only encountered fellow-soldiers and non-combatants with different languages, religions or customs, but also interacted with friendly or belligerent civilians. Between 1914 and 1918, on French soil alone, there were over 1 million Asian and African men, both soldiers and non-combatants, in addition to soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Europe would never be the same again not just in terms of the war’s wreckage but in terms of people, ethnicities and cultures that were encountered, manipulated, studied, befriended. These encounters not only affected the individuals involved, but left deep traces in the literature, arts and culture of the times.

Simultaneously, a different kind of ‘cultural encounter’ was being engineered within Europe: the belligerent states were each trying to win over the neutral nations by funding cultural institutions and trying to influence artists, writers and opinion makers throughout the war. Neutral countries, particularly Sweden and Switzerland, became hubs for the activities of anti-colonial revolutionaries from Asia and North Africa. Furthermore, belligerent countries carried out intensive propaganda in Europe as well as in the colonies to ensure either imperial loyalty or to mobilize anti-colonial feelings and actions.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to investigate the different kinds of encounters, exchanges and entanglements happening during wartime. What particular pressures did the conditions of war put on such encounters? What is the relationship between ‘forced encounters’ (as in camps for POW or civilian internees), ‘voluntary’ encounters (as in towns, markets, billets) and the state-sponsored ideologically motivated ‘indirect’ encounters (in the neutral countries)? Does encounter always involve exchange? What were the structures of power and how did they navigate the prevalent ideologies of race? How did the encounters and exchanges occur across linguistic, national, religious, ethnic and social barriers, and what were their post-war legacies in terms of social, cultural, artistic and literary memory for Europe? Papers which pay attention to encounters or exchanges which involve colonials and neutrals – which is still a largely under-researched area – are particularly welcome.

The conference aims to overcome the dominant national and geographical approaches to the First World War and seeks to investigate moments and processes of cultural encounters, exchange, porosity and (mis-)understanding from different disciplinary perspectives, including history, geography, literature, anthropology, cultural, area, visual and gender studies. We would like to invite papers on the following themes, but are also open other aspects of cultural exchange during the First World War:

  • Spaces of cultural encounters and exchange (e.g. ships, trenches, camps, billets, hospitals)
  • Cultural encounters and/or exchange among soldiers at the front and between soldiers and civilians
  • Occupation, captivity, deportation and cultural exchange
  • Medium of cultural exchange (e.g. newspapers, letters, journals, films)
  • Propaganda and cultural exchange
  • Contemporary public and private reaction to and reflection on cultural exchange
  • Intellectual, literary and artistic exchanges and networks during the war
  • Transnational movements (Pan-Asianism, Pan-Africanism, Pan-Islamism) and anti-colonial networks
  • Impact of the cultural exchanges and their post-war legacies

Accommodation will be provided for speakers for the duration of the conference and speakers’ travel expenses will be reimbursed within reason.

Proposals from scholars at any stage in their career are invited and papers with an interdisciplinary approach are particularly welcome.

Participants should send abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-25 minute paper, a short biography, and any enquiries to by 14 September 2015.