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Veterans, globalized: veterans and their societies in international perspective

Call for papers

Conference dates:

   26-28 March 2018 (Monday-Wednesday)

Proposals due:

   13 January 2018


   Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. 

   Roanoke, Virginia, USA


The 2018 Veterans in Society Conference takes issues raised by the First World War as its point of departure to encourage research and generate scholarly conversations across disciplines and eras that consider the interplay of veterans and their societies in transnational or international perspective.  To that end, we foresee juxtaposing explicitly comparative work with scholarship that delves into specific national, cultural, or historical contexts.


In consequence of the "Great War," regimes fell and national identities were transformed -- among colonial and colonized peoples as well as Europeans and North Americans.  Distinctions between experiences on the battle front and on the home front blurred in the face of mobilization for total war and the advent of aerial and submarine warfare. Casualties numbered in the millions, presenting new kinds of injuries, new diagnoses, new modes of treatment and long-term care, and new ideas about physical, psychological, and social normality. 


From poetry to cinema to architecture, creative works flourished to make meaning out of the war and the social and intellectual systems in which it had been embedded. 


Arguably, WWI established narratives about veterans that continue to dominate both discourse and policy.

We encourage scholars at all levels, in and out of the academy, to contribute to the conference.

   Information for attendees >

preliminary schedule >


The organizers expect to cluster submissions into thematic groups; for example:

Solidarity and social transformation.

  • How has veteran-ness manifested itself in the words and/or deeds of national-scale social and political movements?

  • What do citizenship and military service have to do with each other? In what ways and for what ends have veterans participated (or not) at the community scale in civil society?

  • International conflicts have entirely abolished and/or created states, and they have changed the borders of others.  What has it meant to veterans when the home town they return to ceased to be part of their legal home land?  In what ways, if any, have veterans’ responses differed from those of their civilian counterparts who similarly find themselves in some sense alien, migrant, or stateless?


Receptions and environments.

  • How have civilians dealt with uncertainties and anxieties about "how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?"

  • In what respects have military experiences encouraged more cosmopolitan (or more parochial) attitudes among veterans? 

  • How have societies determined what obligations, if any, they have toward their veterans?  How have they parsed veteran status? And what are the implications of these decisions?

  • How have social constructions of war and peace -- eg, total war and limited war; civil war, peacekeeping,  and insurgency;  "phony war," cold war and hot peace; ceasefires, armistices, and "just and lasting peaces" -- affected veterans' status and opportunities?



  • How have veterans in civilian communities responded to changes in war-related sciences and technologies?

  • In what ways have understandings of "veteran" been mediated by or through sciences and technologies (including social sciences, medicine, and mass media)?


Meanings and representations.

  • Among veterans, how have identity and difference manifested themselves?   

  • How have veterans found or created meanings to situate their military experiences amid civilian society?

  • How have non-veterans and veterans explained themselves to each other?


Submission guidelines

We anticipate that most successful proposals will be for individual papers or panels presenting completed research, posters, and technical papers. However, we also encourage proposals that present promising, provocative work in progress as well as academically sound research that may use nontraditional formats/media.


NEW: in response to queries, we have scheduled a workshop session specifically for sharing and refining early-stage research and/or engagement projects with kindred scholars and potential collaborators.  We encourage all conference attendees to share their ideas, so to assure a seat, please send a sketch of the project(s) you want to talk about, marked "work in progress," and submit by March 1.   Work-in-progress submissions will not undergo peer review.  


Proposals (email preferred) should consist of

  • a cover letter providing contact information for the author(s), title and format of the proposed work,  and 

  • an abstract attached in a separate file (or sheet of paper).  Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and formatted for blind review: no author names, affiliations, or other personally identifiable information.


All submissions should conform to a widely accepted citation style that will be intelligible to an interdisciplinary audience (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).

Submit proposals, marked ViS 2018 Conference Proposal, to the local organizers

c/o Dr Bruce Pencek

Newman Library (MC 0434)

Virginia Tech
560 Drillfield Dr
Blacksburg, VA   24061


c/o Dr James Dubinsky

Department of English (MC 0112)Virginia Tech
181 Turner St NW
Blacksburg, VA   24061

All proposals and abstracts received for consideration for the postponed 2017 conference will remain in the pool for review for the 2018 event.  If  you submitted a proposal for it, please inform the organizers of your intentions.  We will gladly accept revised proposals as those projects evolve.

We expect to notify author​​​s about acceptance of proposals around the last week of January 2018.



As previously, we hope authors presenting at ViS 2018 will generate wide-ranging conversations that span disciplines, institutional affiliations, generations, and veteran/military/civilian status.  We encourage high-level participation from all quarters, including professionals in fields pertaining to veterans, independent scholars, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates.


Authors will present their research in two phases:
1. Proposals. Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words prepared for blind peer review and a cover letter.  At the conference, presentations should be brief and conversational, engaging panelists and the audience.


2. Contributions to proceedings. Authors will have a reasonable, limited time to revise their formal presentations' content and formatting for publication in the online conference proceedings, which will be available on an open-access basis.. Authors may also include slide decks of the presentations, handouts, and other supplemental materials as part of the proceedings. Multimedia elements such as video or audio clips may be incorporated into the papers or submitted as supplemental files.

Contributions to the proceedings will be curated by the Virginia Tech libraries (see earlier proceedings) to promote their widespread discovery, access, and preservation at no cost to authors or the public.  Each document in the proceedings will receive a unique, persistent identifier and date stamp.  Authors retain their own copyrights but are responsible for their use of others' copyrighted materials. 


If you would like additional information about ViS 2018,  please email Bruce Pencek  or Jim Dubinsky.


This Veterans in Society Conference is based at
in collaboration with 

Follow our Veterans Studies Conference community and  #ViS2018  on Facebook and Twitter.

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