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Academic Conference ‘ Intellectuals in the Great War ’

Event ended

HSE's Faculty of Philosophy is accepting applications from those interested in participating in the academic conference ‘Intellections in the Great War’ on November 6-7, 2014. The conference coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I. Applications are accepted until October 10, 2014.

August 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I, or the Great War, which changed the political and spiritual landscape of Europe beyond recognition. The Great War was unique in that aside from the battlefronts where millions of people fought and lost their lives, there was also another war taking place – a spiritual and intellectual battle where intellectuals, academics, writers, artists, and journalists from the belligerents fought on paper. There were reasons for this: World War I, with its technical escalation of military confrontation, demanded mass political mobilization of the involved countries and nations, the main imperative of which was the preservation of unity among nations in the face of a common enemy. In circumstances where it was necessary to convince entire nations (irrespective of class and social stratum) that all their efforts had to be thrown on the altar of victory since there was only one alternative – win or die – it was absolutely inevitable to turn to political ideologies meant to justify the purpose of extending the war, which had become a ‘total war.’ For that reason, the political mobilization of the First World War affected not only the front and homeland, but also the spirit, resulting in intellectuals enthusiastically rushing not only to the battlefields, but also to the intellectual front, to the field of symbolic battles of words, concepts and ideas. The conference will discuss a wide range of issues related to the role of intellectuals in the intellectual battles of the First World War, as well as its antecedents and consequences:

  • The spiritual meaning of war for intellectuals of the belligerents.
  • 'Dispelled Illusions': ideas about the coming war in its future participating countries and their check of 'fire and sword' in the Great War.
  • 'What are we fighting for?': Intellectuals and the problem of legitimizing the reasons behind the Great War.
  • 'Ideas of 1914' versus 'ideas of 1789': German intellectuals go to war.
  • Self-nationalizing intellectual elites (1870—1914) as a spiritual stage of preparation for war.
  • 'Masters of thought' go to war: on the significance of iconic thinkers in the struggle for a spiritual sense of war (Henri Bergson, Emile Durkheim, Johns Dewey, Max Weber, Werner Sombart, Max Scheler).
  • Rebels against the 'Mandarins': anti-war criticism and the anti-war movement during the First World War.
  • The Great War and the idea of intellectuals' betrayal.
  • 'Technical surprise': the industrialization of violence as a way towards total war in intellectuals’ ideas.
  • The public's ideas about war in the belligerents and the role of culture and cultural mediators in forming them.
  • Russian intellectuals and the Great War: a 'special case' or 'common denominator'?
  • 'Turning imperialist war into civil war': the radical left and World War I.
  • The paradoxical nature of political rationality of modernity: the Great War as the driving force behind the expansion of civil rights.
  • Won war and lost peace: the contours of the post-war world order through the eyes of European and American intellectuals.
  • National issues and their culmination in the Great War.
  • Interim results: intellectuals' self-criticism and self-flagellation in the interwar period (1918-1939).
  • The idea of pan-Europeanism in the force field of European nationalisms.

Organizing Committee of the Conference: Prof. A. M. Rutkevich, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, chairman of the organizing committee (HSE, Moscow); E. V. Blinov, Candidate of Philosophy, University of Toulouse (Toulouse, France); T. A. Dmitriev, Candidate of Philosophy, Associate Professor in the School of Cultural Studies, deputy chairman of the organizing committee (HSE, Moscow); O. V. Kildyushov, Research Fellow in at the Centre for Fundamental Sociology (HSE, Moscow); V. A. Kurennoy, Candidate of Philosophy, Head of the School of Cultural Studies (HSE, Moscow); A. V. Mikhailovsky, Candidate of Philosophy, Assistant Professor in the Department of the History of Philosophy (HSE, Moscow).

Date of conference: November 6-7, 2014

Application deadline: October 10, 2014

To participate in the conference, please send your application in .docx or .pdf format to the conference's organizing committee at t-dmitriev@yandex.ru by October 10, 2014.

The application must include:

1.     Full name

2.     Place of employment and position

3.     Academic degree, academic title

4.     Name of paper being submitted

5.     Paper thesis. The thesis must be in Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1.5-spaced. The thesis must not exceed one page and should include five or six keywords in Russian and English. In addition, the name of the paper must be in English.

6.     Contact information: mailing address, telephone number, email address.

Speaking time: 20 minutes.

Working languages of the conference: Russian and English.

Participants' travel and accommodation are not paid.

Participants’ papers should be compiled and published following the conference.

The conference's organizing committee reserves the right to select theses for the conference's programme and/or articles after the conference.

Conference location: 24/1 Staraya Basmannaya Street, Moscow