CFP: The Great War as an Intercultural Event (Deadline: 3/30/15)



Interculturality is an inescapable problem for anyone who wants to deal with the issue of war. In a war different peoples come into contact with each other, are on the move, mingle, though in the most brutal and destructive fashion. The highest conceivable level of separateness (the elimination of the Other) goes hand in hand with the highest level of possible communication: the brotherhood with the enemy. War moves armies and fleets, but also ideas, stories and histories, world views: the brutal clash of different visions, hopes and delusions is also, unavoidably, their meeting, and the moment in which different cultures are brought into question, and may reach unexpected exchanges and changes. Wars usually bring about alternations in the relations among cultures, also triggering reactions and resistances to these alterations, in a very complex interplay.

World War I, the Great War, was unprecedented in terms of destructivity (with millions of victims) and size, and it was world-wide for the novel extent of the involvement of cultures. It was not just – as suggested by some, among which Ernst Nolte – a “European civil war”: Indian troops fought in the Flanders trenches under the English flag, Japanese warships patrolled the Adriatic Sea; battles were also fought in the Middle East, in Africa and China.

Studi Interculturali, (ISSN: 2281-1273; http://, a web-based and print on demand four-monthly academic magazine, has scheduled a special issue on the Great War (the third of 2015), and invites scholars to submit proposals for articles devoted to these and related issues. Among the possible themes there are:

  • the meeting with the Other, be he/she friend or foe, in the Great War trenches and in the rear, depicted in novels, stories, memoirs, autobiographies, articles, reportages, diaries, etc.
  • the representation of the friend/foe in literary texts, journalistic articles, etc.
  • the theorization of war as a meeting/clash of cultures, whether in a polemic vein or in a disinterested analysis, by historians, philosophers, sociologists, intellectuals etc. during the war or in its aftermath;
  • the confrontation of different social classes/ethnic groups within the same army, which may highlight the confrontation between different cultures living within the same nation or empire;
  • the attempt to define national identities whether one’s own or other countries’) in the context of the Great War based on the confrontation / clash of cultures (e.g. the Kultur vs. Zivilisation opposition, typical of the German domain);
  • the crisis of the idea of a cultural superiority of the West vis-à-vis the non-European cultures, in the context of the civilization crisis caused by the Great War

500-word proposals for contributions either in Italian, English, Spanish or French should be sent to Umberto Rossi (, Mario Faraone (, and Gianni Ferracuti ( no later than March 30, 2015. The selected proponents will be contacted no later than May 30, 2015; the texts of the contributes must be sent to the journal no later than September 30, 2015. Articles will undergo a blind peer-review. (It may happen that articles considered worth being published may not be included in the special issue due to space limits; they will nonetheless be taken into consideration for publication in a subsequent issue of the journal.)