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The Myth of the Great War, an International Conference.

Philadelphia, April 24-25, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Italian Studies.

An international interdisciplinary conference on "The Myth of the Great War" will be hosted in Philadelphia by the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, April 24-25, 2014, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. 

The conference is organized by Fabio Finotti, Chris Poggi, Jonathan Steinberg, Cristina Benussi, and Luca Badini Confalonieri with the collaboration of the Italian Embassy in Washington DC, the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia, the Università degli Studi di Trieste, and the Università degli Studi di Torino. 


Call for papers: Proposals are invited from scholars across the disciplines.

Before being a reality, war is a creation of the imagination, a legendary elaboration of the past, a utopia for the future.  From the Risorgimento to Fascism, the myth of war always preceded military confrontations, painted them with its own colors, and transfigured them in different ways. State religion gave war a holy character, made it the locus of the consecration of lay martyrs and the foundational event of civic rites. The celebration of progress, of the machine, of Darwinian selection, presented war as the apotheosis of futurist modernity.  The dream of a collectivity without hierarchies painted war as fusion of the intellectuals with the people and as fraternal experience.  Different ideas of war gave rise to different ways to represent and remember it.  The conference will not examine war only as symbolic form of socio-political language but also as poetic, artistic, musical, and cinematographic language.


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