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Cultures of Military Violence
Although historians dealing with war will inevitably be called to concentrate their attention on violence, often the understanding of how violence itself was perceived, understood, imagined and experienced by combatants and civilians is neglected. Much still needs to be said about how war was shaped by and, in turn, influenced, modern perceptions of violence. Considering war, as John Keegan has put it, first and foremost as ‘a cultural act’, a conference on 'The Violence of War' in 2014 called attention to the ways in which warfare violence was imagined and understood during the modern era, focusing on the distance between expectations and experiences of war; on the distance between – or coincidence of – ‘imagined’ and the ‘real’ wars. The period considered ranged from the Crimean War to the Second World War and its aftermath. This project is funded by the AHRC and includes two workshops, an international conference and associated public events. Contributions to the workshops and conference have been published in several special issues: i) M. Hewitson (ed.), 'Combatants, Civilians and Cultures of Violence', History (2016) ii) M. Hewitson and M. D'Auria (eds.), 'Making Sense of Military Violence', Cultural History (2017) iii) M. D'Auria and M. Hewitson (eds.), Making Sense of Violence: Intellectuals, Writers and Modern Warfare', European Review of History (2018), which has also been published with Routledge as an edited volume (2020).
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