CFP: Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I through Today (Deadline: January 31, 2017)

CFP: Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I through Today
Deadline: January 31, 2017

In the next few years there will be many who will think about the 100th Anniversary of World War I.  Over a 100 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas were involved in the Great War.  Between 15 to 65 million died, if the casualties of Spanish Flu are counted. World War I led to World War II and the Cold War.  The legacy of WWI continues today especially in the political geography and conflicts in the Middle East.

What about those who took a stand of conscience and objected, dissented and resisted the 1914-1918 war?  This project is about remembering those who courageously took such stands often in very hostile nationalistic environments that often silenced their protests. The project aims to magnify these muted voices and enable their stories to be more widely known to the public, to academic historians, other scholars and teachers.

A Symposium on resistance and conscientious objection in WWI is planned at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City in October 19-21, 2017.  The Symposium is seeking to remember the whole range of people who objected and resisted in World War I from Peace Churches and other religious groups, to socialists and suffragists.  We will encourage an international dimension also.  A separate flier is available with further details.  Please contact Andrew Bolton (

Conference Announcement/Call for Papers:

Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance, and Civil Liberties in World War I through Today

October 19-21, 2017
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
Kansas City, MO, USA

World War I had a profound impact on the United States, including in ways that are largely forgotten today. Although the United States actively took part in the conflict for only 18 months, the war effort introduced mass conscription, transformed the American economy, and mobilized popular support through war bonds, patriotic rallies, and anti-German propaganda. Many people nevertheless questioned the claims of the Allied and Central powers, desired a negotiated peace, opposed American intervention, refused to support the war effort, and/or even imagined future world orders that could eliminate war. Among them were members of the peace churches and other religious groups, women, pacifists, radicals, labor activists, and other dissenters.

Intolerance and repression often muted the voices of these war critics. Almost overnight, the individuals and groups who opposed the war faced constraints on their freedom to advocate, organize, and protest. The Selective Service Act of 1917 made few concessions for conscientious objectors. The Espionage Act of 1917 – reinforced by the Sedition Act of 1918 – prohibited many forms of speech and made it a crime to interfere with the draft. Peace advocates and antiwar activists and conscientious objectors confronted not only external hostility from the government, the press, and war supporters, but also internal disagreements over how to respond to the war and advance the cause of peace. The experience of American dissenters was not unique; their counterparts in other belligerent countries and colonial dependencies found themselves in comparable situations. Yet, those who opposed World War I helped initiate modern peace movements and left a legacy that continues to influence antiwar activism.

This interdisciplinary conference, hosted by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, will explore the experiences of those groups and individuals who raised their voices against the war, sometimes at great cost.  We welcome paper, panel, poster, roundtable, and workshop proposals that engage in diverse ways with issues of conscience, dissent, resistance, and civil liberties during World War I, in the United States and around the world. We encourage proposals that examine historical and contemporary parallels to the war. Strong conference papers will be given consideration for publication in special issues of the journals Mennonite Quarterly Review and Peace & Change.

Topics might include:

  • War Resistance as an Expression of Religious Conscience (Amish, Brethren, Catholics, Hutterites, Latter Day Saints, Mennonites, Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Quakers, etc.)
  • Secular Dissent and Resistance to War (feminists, socialists, and other movements and communities)
  • The Costs of War (economic, political, social, physical, psychological, etc.)
  • Civil Liberties in World War I and War Today
  • Race, Empire, and World War I
  • The Legacy and Relevance of World War I Peace Activism to the Present
  • The Causes and Prevention of War: World War I and Since
  • Teaching World War I and Peace History in High School and College
  • Memory, Memorialization, and the Public History of World War I

The program committee invites interested participants to send a 1-page proposal focused on the theme of the conference by January 31, 2017 to John D. Roth (

Conference Working Committee:  Scott H. Bennett (Georgian Court University), Andrew Bolton (Community of Christ/Graceland University), Jesse Hofer (Silverwinds Hutterite Community), Ian Kleinsasser (Crystal Springs Hutterite Community), Dora Maendel (Fairholme Hutterite Community), Peter Mommsen (Plough Publishing),  John D. Roth (Goshen College), Christy J. Snider (Berry College), Duane Stoltzfus (Goshen College), Lora Vogt (National WWI Museum).

Conference Co-sponsors: American Friends Service Committee, Brethren Historical Library and Archives; Bruderhof Communities; Historians against the War; Hutterian Communities (3); John Whitmer Historical Association; Peace History Society; Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Tabor College, KS; Mennonite Central Committee, US; Mennonite Historical Society; Mennonite Quarterly Review; National World War I Museum; Plough Quarterly; The Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College.