Making War, Mapping Europe: Militarised Cultural Encounters, 1792-1920
This project investigated the experiences of Western armies in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Italy, and the Middle East. It investigated the persistent impact these encounters had on the societies of their respective home countries.
The project included studies led by four principal investigators in Berlin, Dublin, Swansea and York. All explored the extent to which military cultural encounters helped to shape collective perceptions of ‘the self’, ‘the other’, of Europe and of its borders in the period between 1792 and 1920. Besides the academic research, the project resulted in an online exhibition which targets both scholars and the broader public.
The research topics of the individual projects were:
- German soldiers in the Ottoman Empire 1835–1918
- French military expeditions in Italy 1796–99 and Egypt 1798–1801
- British and French expeditions to the Balkans and the Near East 1915–20
- The visual and material culture of British military encounters with Egypt 1798–1918
- German military encounters with Eastern Europe: experience and commemoration 1812–1914
A central aim of the project was to tie the research of the individual projects into a common research agenda. The bilateral seminars, four project workshops and the final conference aimed to discuss individual research results based on common questions and to compare findings to learn more about the specific nature of cultural encounters in a military context, their evolving trajectories, and the cultural mapping that they generated.
The central themes of the research agenda and achievements, which were presented at the MWME conference ‘Peripheral Visions: European Soldiers and Cultural Encounters in the Long Nineteenth Century’ were:
- Encounters: focusing on the engagement with the people of the regions invaded or occupied
- Patrimonies: dealing with the cultural and artistic content of the territories
- Counter-encounters: posing the question of how the encounters were experienced by the invaded and occupied peoples
- Capturing landscapes: addressing the iconography of encounters
- Perceptions and power: raising a more command-centred view of the encounters between European soldiers and the inhabitants of the ‘periphery’