Over the last decade, we’ve seen a growth in the number of historians from across the academy working on matters relating to war. We now frame our research in terms of gender, race, material culture, the effects on civilian populations as well as the challenges of preparing for and fighting in battle. The time is right to launch a new society that embraces the breadth of approaches to the study of the history of war.
Historians have a vital role in deepening society’s understanding of how war is conducted, perceived, experienced and legitimated. We want to celebrate the plurality of approaches in the study of war ensuring we have a voice within, across and beyond our scholarly communities.
We are keenly aware of the importance of studying the nuts and bolts of battle, the conduct of military operations and the structure and composition of armed forces. But we also recognise that traditional approaches to military history need to engage with the rich, diverse and exciting perspectives that have been adopted across the academy. By bringing together these multiple views on war, we hope to foster deeper engagement across the field.
So we want to build a broad community of scholars - not just historians but also those from other disciplines – who place war in its wider, political, social, cultural, diplomatic, economic and even emotional, somatic and environmental contexts. We believe that this engagement is mutually beneficial and offers fresh insights, challenges assumptions and strengthens our understanding of warfare in human history.
We want to start a conversation with and foster a stronger sense of community among those who share our ambitions to shape the field and promote new directions in the study of war. We wish to forge links with researchers around the world; this includes working to improve the dissemination and reception amongst English-speakers of research in languages other than in English.
As a new society there are lots of things we can do. Our immediate goal is to run two major annual events, reflecting our international focus. Our first is the New Voices in the History of War, a conference aimed at PhD candidates and Early Career Scholars. Our second is a themed event, which we will hold at Sciences Po in Reims in the spring of 2020. Our ambition is to hold at least one of our major conferences outside the UK, at least once every two years.
Beyond this we will actively look to collaborate with other societies so as to strengthen dialogue between fields and at the same time engage with our membership in an effort to further shape our activities and ambitions.
We know that there are opportunities to use blogs, podcasts and social media to regularly interact with our members and the public. As we establish ourselves we will use these to further promote engagement across the academy.
We appreciate your interest in SHoW and hope that you are as excited as we are about the possibilities of refashioning our field in ways that strengthen our sense of community.
Please keep the conversation going with us on Twitter and join us at our events.