Call for Papers: Soldiers in Peacemaking (19th-21st centuries)

French Defense Historical Service, the Research Center of Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan French Officers Academy (CREC Saint-Cyr), Utrecht University and the Mixed Research Unit Sirice (Sorbonne-Identités, relations internationales et civilisations de l’Europe), with the support of German Armed Forces Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr, the Netherlands Institute for Military History and of Labex EHNE (Écrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe) are pleased to announce an international seminar on “Soldiers in Peacebuilding” (19th-21st centuries)”, on November 14th and 15th 2019 in Vincennes.

Recent commemorations of the end of the First World War have reminded us how difficult and lengthy the process of peacebuilding was, a hundred years ago. In fact, these commemorations underscored once again the importance of the concept of “post conflict situation”, with which we describe the long and nonlinear process passing from war to peace. The Paris Peace Conference involved large numbers of experts coming from all kinds of fields of expertise (economists, lawyers, geographers and of course military officers) who together made up the “epistemic community” that produced the unprecedented impact and long ranging influence of this particular process of peacebuilding. Compared to the initial logic of a peace built by sovereigns, ministers, diplomats, politicians and a handful of experts in the « Europe of Congresses » that emerged in Vienna, this peace process involved so much more experts, and could be considered – given the string of treaties from Versailles via Lausanne to Washington – a veritable production site of expert knowledge regarding peace making. 

Notwithstanding all the knowledge and insight assembled on the birth of expertise in the diplomatic field, what seems to be missing in the growing body of literature on peace building processes and congresses, is the role of the military. This symposium therefore aims to fill this gap and focuses on the role of soldiers, officers, generals and other military experts who were involved not just in terminating the war, but also in designing the new peace arrangements. The role of the military is far less examined than any other categories of experts involved in peacebuilding, whereas their contribution was highly specific, specialized and in demand. Already in 1815 generals sat at the table discussing territorial revisions, the creation of fortresses and barriers for defense purposes. In 1919 and 1945, they were even more relevant in estimating the defensive potential of new territorial arrangements. Thus, the aim is also to grant a particular and renewed care for the military aspects of peace, either by following the participation of military men themselves, or by mapping the military aspects that were brought forward by civilian experts and decision makers. Following that purpose, three major thematic perspectives will be addressed, covering the participation of the military in peace building processes from 1792 until the current day. Papers can apply historical, IR and/or political science method, but need to touch upon one of the following three perspectives:

1. Military arrangements made to ensure a framework favorable towards peacebuilding: (Boundary demarcation, No Fly zones or DMZ, peacekeeping forces commitment, occupation areas, disarmament or limitation of weapons, installation of Military Deterrence systems…). Within this perspective, we will focus on specific military provisions within the peace framework. We will investigate the relation between these military guarantees and/or the tools of nonmilitary policies. Papers could address these military guarantees against the backdrop of professional and cultural processes, study their timing and logics (improvisation, anticipation), and their post war influences on the conception of armed forces.  

2. The military key actors in peacebuilding . Who were these actors, how did they end up in the peace process? Did their services or arms of origins have any consequence on their motivation, their designation, their capability of influence, or their own vision on the peacebuilding process? What was their legitimacy, both from their own point of view as from the vantage point of other, civilian and social actors? Can we discern knowledge transfer, deals, arrangements, hybridization between military major characters in peacebuilding and civilian experts and decision makers? How did the peacebuilding process impacted themselves in turn, did they make provisions in terms of vocational training or other adaptions to prepare the armed forces for a transition from war to peace?

3. The relation between peacebuilding and the type of conflict at stake – from the perspective of the military. Papers in this section will investigate how peacebuilding is influenced by the form of conflict at stake: internal or interstate, colonial or imperial, conflicts within a national territory, or borders warfare. The following fields will be also studied: the consequences on ideological conflicts, the dialectics between war and crisis, the international conduct of war (per alliance, coalition or alone), the impact of the environment (e.g. the sea), the composition of armed forces committed in conflicts (draftees or professional soldiers) etc.

A broad historical perspective is adopted, ranging from the 19th to the 21st century, in order to also encompass and map larger undercurrents and structural transformations impacting the art of peacebuilding, such as:
• The influence of Technics and Technologies.
• The influence of legitimate socio-political systems, including the question of military legitimacy in society.
• The influence of legacy and of memory of past conflicts and peacebuilding processes in new ones (e.g. Versailles syndrome).
• The influence of status of victorious or defeated soldiers and veterans after the war, in times of peacebuilding.
• The influence of legal frameworks and mandates with respect to the role of the military in the peacebuilding process.

Papers can be submitted in French or English. Languages for the symposium will be French and English.

Please send us a 500-word abstract and a short bio by June 15th, 2019.  Accepted speakers will be notified by July 15th, 2019.

The organizers of the symposium will bear the costs of:
• Travelling tickets, accommodations and catering for non-Parisians speakers
• Midday lunches on 14 and 15 November 2019

Please direct questions and submissions to: 

Direction scientifique
Frédéric Dessberg (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Écoles de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan)
Beatrice de Graaf (Universiteit Utrecht)
Thomas Vaisset (Service historique de la Défense)

Conseil scientifique
Julie d’Andurain (Université de Lorraine)
Walter Bruyère-Ostells (IEP d’Aix-en-Provence)
Isabelle Davion (Sorbonne-Université)
Michal Epkenhans (Universität Hamburg, ZMS-Bw)
Olivier Forcade (Sorbonne-Université)
Robert Frank (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Jean-Michel Guieu (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Jan Hoffenaar (Universiteit Utrecht)
Stanislas Jeannesson (Université de Nantes)
Jean-François Klein (Université du Havre-Normandie)
Samuel Kruizinga (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Matthijs Lok (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Virginie Martin (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
William Mulligan (University College of Dublin)
Ozan Ozavci (Universiteit Utrecht)
Ben Schoenmaker (Universiteit Leiden)
Mariusz Wołos (Université pédagogique de Cracovie)
Thomas W. Zeiler (Boulder University, Colorado)