Summer School: “Faces” of First World War Battlefields and Battles

Call for Applications

Summer School for Graduate students

With financial support from the Conseil départemental de la Somme, the Mission du Centenaire 14-18, and the Office franco-allemand pour la jeunesse.

June 26th to July 2nd 2016, Péronne & Verdun

1. Aims

The International Research Centre of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, with its partners at the EHESS Paris, the Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr, Potsdam and the Université de Picardie Jules Vernes invites applications for its summer school in Verdun and Péronne for graduate students working on the First World War or modern conflicts more generally.

We aim to bring together an international group of outstanding young scholars with interests in, but not limited to, the military, cultural, social, and environmental histories of war. Over the course of a week, students will spend time in discussion with their peers, but also a wide range of leading international academics. Excursions and visits are an integral part of the programme and serve to enrich the experience.

  1. Topic

The centenary in 2016 of the two iconic battles of the First World War–Verdun and the Somme–leads us to reconsider battles and battlefields in the historiography of the First World War. Since John Keegan’s pioneering Face of Battle (1976), generations of historians have expanded our understanding of the experience of combat, as well as our knowledge of the literary and artistic representations of the battlefield. The way we think about the legacy of battles in the memory of the First World War around the world, too, has changed. Our week in Verdun and Péronne (three days each) will not only give us time to reflect on the current state of research on the battles of the First World War and discover the most recent advancements in battlefield archeology and environmental history of warfare, but also confront these readings with on-the-ground visits to the sites studied.

  1. Programme highlights

Activities will include guided tours of battlefields and memorial sites around Verdun and at the Somme, with local guides and specialists of battlefield archeology. Lectures by and debates with renowned historians of the First World War (including Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Annette Becker, Annie Deperchin, John Horne, Gerd Krumeich, Anne Rasmussen and Jay Winter) will supplement our smaller seminar sessions with the summer school organizing historians (see below). On July 1st, 2016 we have seats reserved for all participants at the Somme centenary commemoration in Thiepval.

  1. Conditions

The working languages of the summer school will be English and French. In order to participate in the full programme and in particular the guided tours of the battlefields a good passive knowledge of French (the capacity to understand a native speaker giving a fairly technical talk) is indispensable.

In order to allow for the greatest possible interaction and debate during the summer school, participants will be expected to read a certain number of documents ahead of time and prepare them for presentation.

We will cover accommodation (in 1 and 2-bed-rooms, shared bathrooms), all local transport (leaving and returning to Paris), entry fees for the various sites and most meals. We will also be able to provide assistance for travel costs to/from Paris for participants, especially those whose academic institutions do not cover such expenses.

Organizing committee:

Caroline Fontaine (Centre International de Recherche de l’Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne)
Franziska Heimburger (Paris-Sorbonne, CIRHGG)
Tomás Irish (Swansea University)
Benoît Majerus (Université of Luxembourg)
Gene Tempest (Insignia Films)

Applications (in English or French) consisting of a 1-page summary of the candidate’s field of research [or: “research interests”] and a 1-page academic CV must be received before midnight on 15th February 2016 online:
1- Create an account on the website, clicking on « Create account » in the left-hand menu.
2- Fill in the form, click on « register » and then activate the account when you receive the confirmation email.
3- Click on « Submissions » in the left-hand column and then « Submit a paper ».
4- Fill in the submission metadata. In the “Abstract” field, please tell us in a couple of paragraphs why you feel this summer school would be beneficial to you and what you could bring to it. When you reach the page for paper submission, please submit your project summary as “Paper” and your CV as “supplementary information”.
We will notify applicants whether their applications have been accepted by 15th March 2016.

Contact: ecole-ete[at]