Not All Quiet on the Ottoman Fronts: Neglected Perspectives on a Global War, 1914-18

09.–12.04.2014, International Conference, Istanbul

World War One constitutes the most important event of the twentieth century affecting a vast geographical span. This war brought about fundamental changes in the global order, social relations and cultural perceptions. Despite its global nature, it affected different geographies in different ways. The historiography of World War One has long been shaped and dominated by nationalist perspectives; current studies, however, have begun to eschew one-dimensional nationalist frameworks and instead present multilayered treatments of the experiences, results, and consequences of the war. Recent academic scholarship has thus developed more affective methodologies in addressing the diverse perspectives and experiences of World War One.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the Orient-Institut Istanbul and the History Foundation in Turkey (Tarih Vakfı) are in the midst of jointly organizing a conference to be held in 2014 dealing with the impact of World War I on the Ottoman state. The conference’s goal is to view once more the war experiences of the Ottoman state as reflected in the new currents of military historiography, to compare the results of these new perspectives, as well as to evaluate their possible contribution to future research. The conference will focus on four main themes:

  • War experiences: taking into account the varied experiences of officers, recruits, civilians, deserters and war captives.
  • War organization: including military issues, wartime governmentality, economic conditions and the state’s ability to meet economic needs, health problems, deportations and special military units.
  • War economy
  • Discussions of the war: propaganda, culture, historiography, personal accounts and social memory 


Approximately 60 participants from a broad international spectrum will participate in this three-day conference. Prior to the conference an international call for papers  will be announced among related academic disciplines. Participants will then be chosen from among these submissions according to academic criteria.

The opening and closing event of the conference will be held in Istanbul at the Palais de France and in the "Kaisersal" of the German Consulate. The remainder of the conference panels will be held at Istanbul Bilgi University. Simultaneous translation in English-Turkish/Turkish-English will be provided at all sessions.

The Organizers:

  • Orient-Institut Istanbul: an academic research center on the language, culture, society and history of Turkey and neighboring regions. A member institution of the Max Weber Foundation, the OII plays an important role in facilitating and coordinating academic network formation and cooperation in Germany, Turkey and other countries.
  • History Foundation (Tarih Vakfı): a prominent association for historians, its membership includes quite a number of renowed public intellectuals and academics. The activities of the Tarih Vakfı includes publications, conferences, public lectures, and research projects; for the past twenty years it continues to play a significant contribution to academic and public discussions of historical issues.

In order to assure the success of this ambitious conference in the name of the 100th anniversity of the beginning of World War I, the organizers have begun their work greatly in advance, and have already contacted prospective researchers and appropriate organizations. Sabancı University, Bilgi University, Şehir University, Yıldız Teknik Unıversity and Boğaziçi University as well as the French Institute for Anatolian Studies (IFEA) have offered their support. From among EU members, Freie Universität Berlin, Munich University and CETOBAC (Paris) have likewise stated their desire to participate in the conference.

A twelve-person organizational committee consisting of both sponsors and participants, in conjunction with a scientific advisory board of internationally recognized historians, have been hard at work in the organization of this conference since April 2012.

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