Gepubliceerd op 18-07-2019

The Stage of War: Academic and Popular Representations of Large-Scale Conflicts

26-27 March 2020
Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The conference ‘The Stage of War’ focuses on academic and popular representations of war and other large-scale conflicts. Nowadays, the cultural engagement with the history of violent conflicts spans a multitude of academic and above all popular genres, including (graphic) novels, films, tourism, musicals, games, exhibitions and re-enactments. Producers of popular genres try to bring the past closer to the public through interaction, performance and multi- sensory experience, often to the discontent of academic historians who fear for a distorted or trivialized past. Nonetheless, research indicates that these popular genres can significantly affect and enhance our understanding of the past.

The unique aim of this conference is to stimulate an exchange between academic and popular approaches to the representation of violent conflicts. Instead of just criticizing popular historical culture, we call on academic historians to suggest what a responsible approach to the past might entail. Simultaneously, we ask producers to clarify what the practical and ethical limitations and opportunities are of representing violent pasts in contemporary society. How can we learn from each other? To what extent can critical historical thinking be stimulated through popular productions? This two-day conference is comprised of academic lectures, presentations, roundtable discussions, and a battlefield tour in Rotterdam by military history specialists.

Keynote speakers

  • Alison Landsberg (George Mason University, Fairfax VA, USA)
  • Robin de Levita (Robin de Levita Productions, The Netherlands)
  • Stefan Berger (Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany)

Target Groups

  • Historians, sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists
  • PhD and ReMa students
  • Military specialists
  • Memory / heritage specialists
  • Popular culture specialists
  • Tourism professionals
  • Producers of historical musicals, films, video games, exhibitions, websites
  • Script writers, curators, game developers, graphic novel authors
  • Trainers, heritage educators, history teachers

Thematic scope
Contributors are invited to submit papers on topics as:

  • Diversification of war experiences
  • Embodiment and bodily understanding
  • The commercialization of war heritage
  • Creating immediacy, direct contact with the past
  • Battlefield representations for education, tourism and military training
  • Representing and experiencing authenticity
  • Marginal perspectives / multiperspectivity
  • Commemoration and reenactments

Please send abstracts of max. 300 words and a short biographical statement of max. 50 words to thestageofwar@eshcc.eur.nl before 1 October 2019.
All abstracts will be reviewed. Notification of acceptance: 1 December 2019.

Location and organization

The venue of this conference will be campus Woudestein, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The conference is an outcome of the Research Excellence Initiative ‘War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts‘, directed by prof.dr. Maria Grever and prof.dr. Stijn Reijnders at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC).

Website https://www.eur.nl/en/eshcc/stage-war-2020
Contact thestageofwar@eshcc.eur.nl
Download flyer


  • Early bird €70, –
  • After 1 February 2020 €100,-
  • Students €25,-
  • Dinner €35,-

Our organisation committee consists of Prof.dr. Maria Grever, Prof.dr. Stijn Reijnders, Prof.dr. Jeroen Jansz, Prof.dr. Kees Ribbens, dr. Susan Hogervorst, Siri Driessen, Pieter van den Heede, dr. Laurie Slegtenhorst, Lise Zurné, dr. Robbert-Jan Adriaansen and Prof.dr. Franciska de Jong.


Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.