There is no such event that disturbs the normal life of humankind like a war does. And, after centuries of testing resistance, after plenty of local or regional wars, the 19th and the 20th centuries witnessed the worst nightmare in the assault of human against human: the total war!
The conflagrations shook the foundations of contemporary mindsets through the large number of victims they caused and their manifold economic, political and demographic consequences. This explains why historians and demographers worldwide, from former combatant or neutral countries alike, have approached the subject of wars extensively, attempting to reconstruct their full implications for the population. In recent decades, scholars have focused on the cultural impact of the wars, seen as one of humanity’s fundamental experiences in the process of defining modern society, an experience that entailed the breakdown of barriers, the modification of traditions, the collapse of certainties and the dissolution of several great empires. Approaches to the subject are very diverse, as they focus on one particular aspect or another of the wars: the win-loss coordinates, from the victorious to the defeated countries, from human losses to political or economic gains, the issue of war trauma and the manner in which the state authorities reacted to the psychological problems of the former soldiers, the problem of military physicians and the medical personnel involved in the war, but also the causes of death on the battlefront, hospitals, hygiene and the soldiers’ mental traumas, the Spanish influenza pandemic, sexuality and venereal diseases behind the front lines, famine and shortages.
The conference intends to emphasize the effects of military conflicts on two levels: the level of the battlefront itself (mobilizations, injuries and casualties, causes of death, internment camps, population movements and displaced groups, the massacres on occupied territories), and the level of the “home front”, i.e. the natural movement of the population (birth rates, death rates), matrimonial behavior (marriage and the morality of the couple, illegitimacy), changes affecting the balance of power in the family (most of the women were forced to earn a living by themselves, finding jobs and entering the labor market, mostly as maids or as factory workers, but also seeking employment in education and the health system), etc.
The conference planned for 2018 in Cluj is meant to be a continuation of the “War hecatomb” conference organized in Lisbon in June 2017. This is the reason for which we preserved its main topics and panels such us:
- Armed conflicts and the modern thought
- Demographic effects and self-regulatory mechanisms;
- Wars and social policies;
- Families and communities’ roles facing crisis;
- Health and public or private reactions;
Due to the fact that the conference is organized in a centennial year we encourage the applicants to think about the reconfigured map of the world after the First World War as well to address the territorial and demographic aspects of political reconfiguration that followed 1918.
We also encourage participants to propose new panels on the main conference topics according to their research interests related to the conflicts in 19th and 20th centuries.