With increasing attention being paid to the role of foreign volunteer fighters in recent armed conflicts around the world – whether fighting alongside Kurdish peshmerga or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Ukrainian forces in the Donbass, or the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan – the Center for History at Sciences Po proposes to examine the past and evolution of the phenomenon at a conference to be held in Paris on 28 June 2018. The event, the organizers write, intends to encompass a broad spectrum of conflicts across a long time period – aiming “to…compare…the experiences in different countries and during different wars from the Revolutions of 1848 to the Yugoslav Wars.”
Among the themes they hope to address: motivations for volunteering, volunteers’ training, their reception in host militaries and societies, their use and performance in battle, the logistical questions posed by linguistic and cultural differences volunteers may have possessed vis-a-vis their hosts, and their treatment by or in the postwar societies that emerged from the conflicts in which volunteers participated.
Contributions should be related to these questions and themes, among others, which are presented in more detail here. However, the conference is also interested in presentations concerning noncombatants such as volunteer nurses, ambulance drivers, and journalists. (Scholars working on Hemingway appear encouraged to apply.) Proposals from all disciplines related to the study of war are welcome, should be between 200 and 300 words, and be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 December 2017. The conference language will be English, and limited funding is available for those traveling from other continents.