SMH 2013 deadline
Just a reminder that the deadline for submitting panels and papers for the SMH 2013 in New Orleans is October 1. The conference theme is “War, Society and Remembrance,” but any topics will be considered.
The conference call for papers goes out of its way to tie the 2013 theme of remembrance to timely anniversaries. To quote from the call: “The year 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Society for Military History, as well as the continuing anniversaries of the Second World War (70th), the American Civil War (150th), and the War of 1812 (200th). …. We particularly encourage papers that reflect on these historic anniversaries.” I won’t claim to know what exactly a “continuing anniversary” is – it’s probably similar to a “long” century, or maybe it just means “circa.” In any case, did the organizing committee really feel the need to remind people to submit panels on the oft-ignored topics of the Civil War and WW2? I realize the National WW2 Museum is one of the sponsors, but seriously.
I will say that I’m a little disappointed, though not too surprised, to notice that a call for papers for a military history conference taking place in 2013 doesn’t mention the only real anniversary of a major war that was actually concluded in a year ending in ’13.’ The truly forgotten war in this story, of course, is the early modern War of the Spanish Succession, whose Treaty of Utrecht (signed 1713) terminated the conflict between Bourbon France/Spain and four of the main Allied protagonists (Britain, the Netherlands, Savoy and Portugal). A year later the Empire and the Austrian crown would make peace with France at Rastatt and Baden; peace between Spain and the Empire/Austria would have to wait a bit longer.
So, there’s no mention of the 300th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Succession – a pretty big war as far as British history goes (and featuring one of Britain’s greatest commanders), as well as Louis XIV’s worst defeat, and a conflict which included Queen Anne’s War in America to boot. Yet we are reminded to commemorate a historic 70th “continuing anniversary” of a war that started in 1939 (depending on who you ask) and ended in 1945? Why don’t we just commemorate the Second World War seven years out of every decade and be done with it? Oh yeah, I forgot: we continuously celebrate WW2 tens years in every decade as it is.
But the invisibility of the early modern doesn’t end with the Spanish Succession. We could, for example, note other anniversaries, anniversaries that commemorate the actual ending of wars. These would include the 365th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia (Thirty Years War), the 335th anniversary of the Treaty of Nijmegen (Louis’ Dutch War), the aforementioned 300th of Utrecht, the 265th anniversary of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (War of the Austrian Succession), the 250th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris (Seven Years War), and the 230th of the Peace of Paris (a continuing anniversary of the War of 1812 but not even a hat tip to the American Revolution?). And what’s up with all those nice round anniversaries for 17C-18C wars anyway – Europeans saw a year ending in 3 or 8 coming up on their calendar and decided to make peace? Kinda eerie. Maybe we’ll have to have a giant EMEMH conference in 2018!
But at least there will be another conference a month later (April 2013) that will give Utrecht its due. To be fair though, even the Europeans insisted on having a conference entitled “1713-2013 The Peace of Utrecht Revisited” in June 2012 in Madrid. Go figure. Organizing conferences is a lot of work, and historians are generally horrible at organizing things, so I guess we should cut them some slack. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to remind your members that we’ve had more than 200 years of war; I’d even suggest that the last thing an SMH call for papers needs to do is encourage people to submit even more panels on the Civil War and WW2 – it’s an incredibly present-minded group as it is.
So after making fun of the call for papers, I’ve probably destroyed any hope of my panel on “Remembering the War of the Spanish Succession” being accepted, particularly since those three modern wars are apparently the topics that they are particularly looking for. But there probably won’t be much competition from the War of 1812, the American Civil War, and World War II, so we’ve still got a shot! I hope other early modernists are submitting panels or individual papers as well. If our Spanish Succession panel is accepted, I’ll provide more details on the papers. In the meantime, never fear: all our papers are comfortably ensconced within the 18C. Let us know if you have papers/panels accepted as well. And let’s hope they don’t schedule those few early modern panels against each other (again).
Just as importantly, I’m hoping that any EMEMHians attending the conference would like to schedule one evening/dinner to get together and discuss things of an early modern nature. Don’t worry, there will be more than enough opportunities to get your WW2 geek on during the rest of the conference. Other than the banquet dinners, most evening dining at the conference is rather extemporaneous and catch-as-catch-can, so it might be a good idea to schedule this ahead of time to avoid too many conflicts.
If you are planning on attending the conference, let us know in the comments. Also let us know if you are interested in doing an EMEMH dinner while in N’awlins. I’m also available via my school email address.