CONFERENCE: The 2019 History of War Conference

battle of mohacs
The 2019 History of War Conference
King’s College London and the University of Oxford
19 March 2019, All Souls College, Oxford

War is part of mankind’s universal experience across the ages. Its pursuit has shaped societies from the Aztecs to the Zulu Kingdom. Historians recognize, for instance, that the British entanglement in warfare on a global scale in the eighteenth century and the creation of what John Brewer classically described as the fiscal-military state were crucial to the commercialization of the British economy and thus the industrial revolution. The history of war, as Sir Michael Howard has continuously argued, is thus more than the study of military campaigns or individual battles. Rather, it is a key aspect of human history in general, without which our understanding of political, social, economic, and cultural developments remains fundamentally incomplete.

Sir Michael’s intellectual legacy is very much alive at King’s College London (KCL) and the University of Oxford, which, together, have the highest concentration of historians of war and related areas in the UK. To further strengthen expertise in this field and promote the exchange of ideas and continued innovation, the University of Oxford and the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at KCL have been collaborating since 2017. As part of this cooperation, annual conferences alternating between Oxford and London provide a platform primarily for postgraduate students, doctoral candidates, and early career researchers affiliated with either of the two institutions to present and discuss research in progress. The conferences aim to explore common themes in the history of war across chronological, regional, and cultural specializations.

The next History of War Conference will take place on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 at All Souls College, Oxford. The programme is available to download here.

As this event is already fully booked, registration has now been closed. Please click here to join the waiting list. Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Convenors: Dr Tobias Graf (Oxford) and George Evans (KCL)



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The 2019 Interdisciplinary History of War Conference

A collaboration between the

Faculty of History at the University of Oxford

and the

Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at King’s College London


19 March 2019, All Souls College, Oxford




9:30–10:00 am         Arrival, Registration and Morning Tea/Coffee                                                                




10:00–10:20 am      Welcome Address                                                       

Old Library            Peter Wilson (Oxford)                                 



10:30–11:30 am      Session 1


Panel 1a: Expertise, Professionalism and Discipline                                         

Old Library

Chair: Joshua Bilton (KCL)

  • Morwenna Blewett (Oxford), Stolen Colours, Coercion and Kidnap: A Defeated Nation’s Artists’ Materials and Conservation Knowledge in the Aftermath of the Second World War
  • George Evans (KCL), A 'Modern', Professional Officer Class: Irish Officers in the Artillery and Engineers
  • Davide Morassi (Oxford), Army Discipline in Classical Athens


Panel 1b: Strategical Thinking in War and Peace                  

Wharton Room

Chair: Tobias Graf (Oxford)

  • Katrin Heilmann (KCL), War and Peace: Planning for China’s Third World War
  • Thomas Heyen-Dube (Oxford), The Influence of the Revolutionary Right on the Elaboration of Strategy in Interwar France And Britain
  • Kumuthan Maderya (Oxford), Stabilizing the 'Arc of Instability' – India’s Response to the Soviet-Afghan War



11:30–11:50 am Tea/coffee break                                                                                     




11:50 am–1:10 pm         Session 2


Panel 2a: Asymmetrical Warfare                                                         

Old Library 

Chair: Richard Reid (Oxford)

  • Nathan Kwan (KCL), A Common Enemy? Understanding the War on Piracy in Nineteenth-Century China
  • Abdulhafiz Wando (KCL), Violent Religious Extremism in the Twenty-First Century: The rise of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria
  • Thomas Booth (Oxford), The Politics of Rhetoric and Group Interactions in the Shōchō Uprising 1428


Panel 2b: Military Communities and Civilian Society                    

Wharton Room 

Chair: Tom Kelsey (KCL)

  • Anna Blomley (Oxford), A Landscape Approach to Ancient Conflict: The Late Classical and Hellenistic Argolid (Greece) as a Case Study
  • Ben Angell (Oxford), Reconceptualising Roman Military Communities
  • Vittoria Princi (Oxford), Stomping Grounds: The Use of Land for Military Manoeuvres in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814)
  • Kunika Kakuta (KCL), The Empire of Owl and the Empire of Rising Sun: A Comparative Approach to Sea Power as Cultural Identity in Imperial Japan (1868–1941) and Fifth-Century BC Athens


    1:10–2:00 pm          Lunch                                                                    




    2:00–3:00 pm          Session 3


    Panel 3a: Memorialising War                                           

    Old Library

    Chair: George Evans (KCL)

    • Oliver Jones (Oxford), On the Cusp of War and Peace: Russian National Identity in Vasilii Grossman’s ‘Stalingrad Dilogy’
    • Kevin Noles (Oxford), 'Trusted Men': Post-War Memory of a Japanese Intelligence Failure in India during World War Two
    • Gemma McKinnie (Oxford), Between History and Historiography: The Use of the Archives in Two World War Documentaries


    Panel 3b: Soldiers’ Experiences of War                                         

    Wharton Room

    Chair: Peter Wilson (Oxford)

    • Kathryn White (Oxford), ‘Told in the Huts’: The Social Role of Religion in the Work of the YMCA
    • Joshua Bilton (KCL), With a Bang: The Assimilation of British Replacements into Combat Units on the Western Front, 1916–1918
    • Katharina Friege (Oxford), Enchanted Forests, Sinister Steppes: Landscapes as Imagined and Lived by the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front, 1941–1945



    3:00–3:30 pm           Tea/coffee break                                                                                                     




    3:30–4:30 pm          Session 4


    Panel 4a: Violence, Ethics and War                                                     

    Old Library

    Chair: David Edgerton (KCL)

    • Izumi Braddick (Oxford), War and Peace in Ancient Japan: An Examination of Violence in the Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Jōmon Period
    • Petros Spanou (Oxford), The Notion of ‘Just War’ and Britain’s Involvement in the Crimean War, 1854-1856: An Examination of Wartime Religious Sermons
    • Elif Gürdoğan (KCL), War and the Milestone in International Criminal Justice: The Yugoslav War and the Creation of the ICTY


    Panel 4b: Ideology and War                                                            

    Wharton Room

    Chair: Patrick Houlihan (Oxford)

    • Sung-Yeon Choi (Oxford), 'Philosophers of War’: The Kyoto Scholars’ Wartime Colloquium on the Pacific War (1941–1945) and Modern Japan in World History
    • Alexandria Dugal (Oxford), ‘Such Unrighteous War’: Christianity in the Pacific War at the Japanese Shizuoka Eiwa Mission Girls’ School
    • Tom Kelsey (KCL), Defence Procurement and the Limits to Economic Liberalism under Mrs. Thatcher



    4:30–4:45 pm           Break                                                                                                                      




    4:45–6:00 pm          Round Table                                                                               

    Old Library            Self-Branding for the (Academic) Job Market, Or What the Historical Study of War has to Offer to Departments

                                     Discussion introduced by David Edgerton (KCL) and Peter Wilson (Oxford)

                                     Chair: Tobias Graf (Oxford)