Uses and Abuses of War Dead

Friday November 22, 2013. 1:00 pm — 5.00 pm.

Arts of War and Peace and LARCA in collaboration with the European Cluster of American Studies (ECAS) propose a study day in preparation for a number of Arts of War and Peace dedicated to the uses of military dead in the twentieth century. Questions concerning causes of war, the uses of revenge, and the official necessity of attaching large national significance to anyone who has died in national service are the point of departure for this theme along with memorials and commemorations. During the course of the twentieth century the definitions of war dead have changed along with their relationship with citizenship. The ethnic and racial make up of armed forces, and their dead have faded in and out of focus along with political needs. The distinction between military and civilian martyrs and targets has blurred through the century. These blurring of national status in regard to the dead have been accompanied by a blurring of meaning between remembering the dead to demand peace and remembering the dead to demand war to create peace. The organizers of this study day are particularly interested in the armed forces and dead of the United States, but comparisons with the experience and practices of other nations, either allied or in opposition to the United States are of great interest.

1.00 pm. William Gleeson (Université du Mans): On the Civil War dead.

1.45 pm. Mark Meigs (Université Paris Diderot, LARCA): American Diplomacy and World War I Dead.

2.30 pm. Michael Hoenisch (John F. Kennedy Institut, Freie Universität Berlin): The Dead and Survivors of My Lay in H & S’s Documentary « AM Wassergraben. »

3.15 pm. Wilco Versteeg (Université Paris Diderot, LARCA): Counting Bodies to the Rhythm of the War Drum: The Uses and Abuses of Dead Bodies in 21st Century American Conflicts.

4.00 pm. ECAS meeting

Contact: Mark Meigs