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Imaging War; Imagining the Nation

A Cultural History of the Soldier in Europe 1800-2014

A workshop to be held at the University of Warwick, 30-31 May 2015

Organised by Dr Ian Roberts (Warwick) and Dr Andrew Plowman (Liverpool)Painting: FOB Jackson, Sangin (c) Matthew Cook


Conference programme now released - see tab above

Images of conflict and of soldiers engaged in conflict have featured in European cultural thought since the inception of the modern nation-state. The representation of a nation’s fighting soldiers has played a critical role in establishing national identity, creating a form of national/military imaginary.

More recently the protracted ‘War on Terror’ has seen European nations – now wrestling with cynical, post-colonial populations – seek to represent their soldiers as honourable peace-keepers. The cultural response within these societies has been markedly different across Europe, ranging from overwhelming support of the soldiers even as the war is opposed, through to outright rejection of these men and women and even denial that war is even taking place.

‘Imaging War – Imagining the Soldier’ will provide a preliminary and informal forum for academics working in a wide range of disciplines who are variously investigating aspects of cultural depictions of soldiers in Europe, both from a historical and contemporary perspective. The programme will feature both finished papers, and reports of work in progress, on a range of topics related to the theme. Painting: RM Patrol, Sangin (c) Matthew Cook

The aims of the workshop are:

  • to bring together academics working across a range of disciplines in order to identify points of collaboration;
  • to examine the changing representations of combat soldiers in European cultures;
  • to consider how contemporary conflicts have impacted on European cultural expression;
  • to determine how literary, artistic and cinematic representations contribute to a cultural history of the soldier in European art, literature and the visual media ca. 1800-present;
  • to devise a framework for future collaboration between academics and members of the European military and creative arts communities.



Includes fee, evening meal for Saturday night, one or two nights accommodation, for options please click here to register.


Accommodation will be at Arden House - Westwood Campus. Please click here for more information

Travel to the University

Click on the link to access information on travel to the University of Warwick, and a campus map.


Informal enquiries are welcome. Please contact:

Ian Roberts, University of Warwick

Email Tel. + (0)24 761 50388


Images reproduced here by kind permission of Matthew Cook

The organisers wish to thank the Universities of Liverpool and Warwick, and the Warwick Humanities Research Centre for their generous support of this event.

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