After the Conference

International Conference with researching Workshop “Intellectuals and the First World War: a Central European Perspective” is already behind us. We would like to thank all Participants: Keynote Speakers, Contributors, Listeners, Hosts (Institute of History, Jagiellonuan University, Jagiellonian University Museum Collegium Maius) and Supporters as well. Soon we will publish a Conference Report in English, German and Polish. Then we are planning to announce Conference Volume. Meanwhile we have prepared some small Gallery, where one can find a couple of pictures. Please follow the dedicated page on our website in menu (Conference Photo Gallery).


Conference Programme

We are pleased to announce  the final schedule of Conference “Intellectuals and the First World War. A Central European Perspective” which will take place in next week in Kraków (20-22.10.2016). Please visit the dedicated page on our website (bookmark: Conference Programme) or see the poster below.

After the welcoming by Director of the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University we are having six Panels, three Key-notes Sessions, Workshop in Archive of Science in Kraków, Excursion and Social Events for registered Participants. The Institute of History will host three key-note lecturers: Professor Pieter M. Judson (Italy), Professor Bielinda Davies (USA) and Professor Maciej Górny (Poland) and 24 Contributors and Panelists from different countries (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Continue reading

“First write, then shoot. East Central European Intellectuals and the Great War”

The third key-note lecture will be delivered by Professor Maciej Górny (The Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences)

“First write, then shoot. East Central European Intellectuals and the Great War”

gornyThe engagement of East Central European intellectuals in the Great War is certainly not a blank spot in historiography, even if it is rarely accorded more than a marginal position in national narratives. This is partially due to the dominance of political history. I aim to show that the significance of this phenomenon can only be measured if it is viewed in the right context. First of all, the bulk of writings of intellectuals from the region subscribed to the tradition of ‘national characterology’ (which is a term wider than ethno-psychology). In effect they form a widely varied, and yet consistent whole. The different camps engaged in a lively exchange of views as well as invectives, while showing exceptional determination in the pursuit of patronage from German, French, and British elites. Hence, brochures and other publications did not solely reflect the current political conjunction, but also represented a part of a broader, international debate. Second, the intellectual exchange concurrent with the events in the East parallels the phenomenon of patriotic exaltation of the intellectuals in the West which the historiography of World War I dubbed ‘the war of the spirits’ (“Krieg der Geister” as it was originally baptized in 1914) in structure, participation, argumentation, and the Continue reading

War and The Habsburg Monarchy: A Revisionist View

The next keynote during Conference will be Professor Pieter Judson from European University Institute. Please find the abstract for Professor Judson’s lecture below:

“War and The Habsburg Monarchy: A Revisionist View”

Official PortraitAlthough we commonly associate the First World War with the end of the Habsburg Monarchy, we rarely investigate on their own terms the specific reasons for that empire’s collapse and disappearance. In part this is because historians and propagandists of the successor states tended to frame the history of the empire in terms that justified its end as a necessary precondition to a new enlightened age of nation states. Moreover, the division of the historical profession in national schools all but guaranteed that the history of the Habsburg state (and of its end) would be written in terms of individual political nations rather than in terms of larger imperial institutions and societies.
In this talk I argue for a comparative Europeanization of the history of the Habsburg Monarchy, for its treatment by historians as a legitimate polity on its own terms, and for a comparison of its wartime strengths and weaknesses with those of other European Empires such as Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. Too often historians have treated Austria-Hungary as a political anachronism destined to fail (with or without the war), conveniently forgetting that other empires came close to collapse as well in 1917 and 1918, also Continue reading

“Going All the Way” for the People? Changes in Thought and Action Concerning Governance in World War I Germany

One of the keynote speaker during Conference will be Professor Belinda Davis, Rutgers University.

“‘Going All the Way’ for the People? Changes in Thought and Action Concerning Governance in World War I Germany”

Davis Head Shot EUIHow did the conditions of the war in Germany transform notions of “serving the country” for those already charged as servants of the state, as civil servants or mid- and low- level political office holders? What were the ramifications of these individuals’ wartime struggles with their positions and attendant commitments, in terms of their views of governance and governmentality, and how in turn did transformations in their thinking affect their actions in and out of service, during the war and then after the November 1918 revolution? This conference offers the opportunity to think broadly about the notion of “intellectuals”, a very fruitful approach permitting exploration of changing thought among highly educated individuals in influential positions in and also outside of universities.This presentation pursues this approach, using archival and especially diary and memoir sources to trace the highly ambivalent and often contradictory stances these “intellectuals of government” took in the course of the war, and to consider how their attendant actions helped and hindered popular support for the war Continue reading

Call for Papers

Intellectuals and the First World War: a Central European Perspective

An International Conference and Research Workshop

Organiser: Institute of History, Jagiellonian University

Place and date: Krakow, October 20–22, 2016

Application deadline: May 1, 2016

Form of abstracts: electronic file (doc, docx, rtf, pdf), 300 words max in English

Applications to be sent to:

Workshop fee: 150 PLN

General information
Last year has seen numerous conferences, lectures, new books and other forms of publications or initiatives dedicated to the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War – the enormous military conflict that has been overshadowed by the Second World War in the historiography. It thus needs even more attention and research, especially as far as the Central European perspective is concerned. Military elements clearly dominated the aforementioned books and events, yet social and economical aspects of war have only recently been given more attention.

There is no doubt that the First World War affected all the inhabitants in Europe, either by warfare, occupation or the experiences of living behind the frontline and in neutral countries. The lives of many social groups and individuals changes dramatically. Peoples’ fates after the war were determined by their wartime experiences.

As a continuation of our research led by a group of scholars at the Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, we would like to invite scholars to take part in our conference combined with a workshop dedicated to intellectuals during the First World War in a comparative perspective. During the conference and workshop “Intellectuals and the First World War” we would like to consider the role and meaning of the broadly-understood society of intellectuals, i.e. scholars, fine arts artists, journalists, well-educated individuals, freelance workers, officials etc.

The workshop is going to be accompanied by keynote lectures delivered by experienced scholars in the field, as well as a source-studies seminar in the Krakow Archives. As a part of our workshop we are planning to prepare tour to Limanowa–Łapanów (1914) and Gorlice–Tarnów (1915) battlefields in order visit the a number of war cemeteries erected by the Austrian authorities to commemorate fallen soldiers in Galicia, and to see some of the splendid examples of the war monuments designed by famous artists working for the Ministry of War (Hans Mayr, Dušan Jurkovič, Jan Szczepkowski, Gustav Ludwig, Gustav Rossmann, to name just a few).

The conference and research workshop “Intellectuals and I World War : a Central European Perspective” is planned as an academic and methodological exchange of views between historians and other scholars dealing with social history of the First World War in East-Central Europe. The main aim of our conference and workshop is an attempt to answer the question how the First World War affected intellectuals from certain clearly defined backgrounds (family, education, religion, gender, sexuality). Their wartime experiences were surely shaped by their whereabouts, everyday life matters, standard of living, and in the case of soldiers – the type of military service. We should also take a closer look at members of intelligentsia who fought in trenches, those who worked in propaganda or those who held civil service posts in the belligerent countries. It still seems to be an important question whether the cooperation of members of the intelligentsia and scholars with the war apparatus was conscious, voluntary, a form of social mission to the state or nation, or maybe an attempt by the governments and rulers to use the “naive clerks” instrumentally?

We would like to consider the intellectuals’ stance towards militarism and the outbreak of war: their reactions, thoughts, predictions, and how they interpreted war events for the society. That is why we would like also ask how the war was conceptualized by the intellectuals, how it was commented upon and how the post-war reality was conceived. This latter issue is undoubtedly connected with the national revivals in East-Central Europe.

In order to look more broadly, i.e. outside the strict chronological boundaries, we would like to ask how the First World War experiences impacted intellectuals and artists. How they were able to function in the “new” post-war reality? What did the relations among their societies and families life look like? We are interested particularly in research projects capturing the phenomenon of WWI in a broader cultural and chronological context, dealing with the war-connected aspects of social continuity and change, as well as comparing and contrasting the experience of groups and individuals across different regions of Europe.

Abstracts, no longer than 300 words, including title, research questions, description of sources and methods and also short CV, contact details, name and institutional affiliation, should be sent to: The deadline for abstract submission is May 1st, 2016. The results of the enrollment will be announced by the end of May 2016.

Conference fee
The conference fee is 150 PLN (included: participation, conference materials, participation in the planned excursion, refreshments, lunches and dinners). The costs of travels to Kraków and accommodation are not covered by the organizers (however, we will be happy to assist you in looking for a hotel near the conference venue).

On behalf of the Organizing Committee:

Tomasz Pudłocki
Department of Cultural and Educational History
Jagiellonian University

Kamil Ruszała
Department of Polish Modern History
Jagiellonian University

(For a pdf version please click here)