Occupied Spaces – Call for Papers

Occupied Spaces – Practices and Experiences of European and Non-European Occupation between World War II and the Cold War

University of Salerno – 14 October 2024

In recent years, amid a growing interest both for colonization and decolonization processes in the global south and other phenomena of expansionistic warfare, scholars of disciplines of the humanities have focused increasingly on the analytical concept of ‘space’ as a means for analyzing complex phenomena of intertwinement between the colonizer and the colonized, the occupier and the occupied. As a consequence, the concept of ‘space’ has been consciously broadened and also came to include ‘spaces of daily life and individuality’ (e.g. gender, family, education, healthcare etc.), which changed and transformed in the context of occupation. This so-called spatial turn has brought to light not only the dynamics of spatial conquest by linguistic, cultural, and physical dominance, but also the different counterreactions these dynamics caused among the colonized and occupied, combining bottom-up perspectives with traditional bottom-down analytical approaches. 

The conference Occupied Spaces – Practices and Experiences of European and Non-European Occupation between World War II and the Cold War is part of the project “Audio Visuals and Languages Analysis Network for Cultural Heritage in Europe – Avalanche of Democracy”, financed by the CERV-2023-CITIZENS-REM (European Remembrance – 2023) grant. It intends to adopt a new, multidisciplinary approach to the concepts of ‘space’ and ‘occupation’ with regards to WWII and its ‘occupied spaces’. ‘Occupation’ is hereby understood as the imposition of direct control and power by means of violence through national entities and/or their social actors upon given territories and/or groups of individuals. The focus of the conference will go beyond the 1939-1945 period and the European context. In this sense, the analyses should be broadened by looking at the various contexts of ‘occupation’ through the category of ‘space’ (geographical: nation, region, city, quarter, residential complex; non-geographical: language, culture, education, gender, religion, race). Because WWII occupations, so conceived, constitute long-term phenomena, they therefore often transcend clear chronological limits. For example, the military invasion and incorporation of the Baltic territories in the Soviet Union in 1940 and 1944, as well as the invasion and control of the private and intimate spaces of the body and sexuality through eugenic laws, like the ones that came into effect in Nazi Germany as early as 1933, can be equally seen as long-term phenomena of ‘occupation’.

In the light of the above, the conference will explore the following issues connected to WWII ‘occupied spaces’: 

1) Occupation and the occupiers: 

– Ideological, political, and cultural roots of occupation, as well as their shifts and dynamics; 

– Rhetoric and ‘languages’ of occupation (e.g. ‘othering’); 

– Formation and similarities of or between ‘cultures of violence’ in the occupational context; 

-Juxtapositions between ‘spaces of the occupiers’ and ‘spaces of the occupied’ in the general ‘occupied space’;

– Visual representation and auto-representation of occupiers and occupation; 

– Ex post or present-day receptions of occupation and occupiers in research, politics and the arts; 

2) Occupation and the occupied: 

– The dynamics of ‘being occupied’: occupation as an exceptional or recurring phenomenon, as a collective or individual experience; 

– Occupation and collective/individual resistance, support, or acceptance; 

– Shifts and changes in non-geographical occupied spaces and their long-time effects on individuals and/or society; 

– Reception of the fate of the occupied abroad; 

– Ex-post or present-day receptions of occupation and the occupied in research, politics and the arts. 

As the conference has been conceived as multidisciplinary, we welcome contributions from all humanistic disciplines. We especially encourage proposals that are based on innovative research methods (e.g. digital humanities). 

Practical information

Abstracts with proposals must reach the Scientific Committee by July 1st, 2024 (email: editors@occupieditaly.org). The abstract, between 300 and 400 words in length, must be written in Italian or English. Other elements contained in the abstract should be the title, the name of the author, the author’s affiliation, and the author’s email address. Acceptance of the proposal will be communicated by July 8th, 2024. In case of acceptance, authors are expected to submit the final version of their paper by the date of the conference, i.e. October 14th, 2024. The papers, subject to double blind peer review, will be published in the next issue of the open access journal «Occupied Italy. Rivista di storia dell’Italia tra Seconda Guerra Mondale e Guerra Fredda».

For each speaker, travel, board and lodging expenses for two nights (the guests can choose the most convenient dates) will be covered.

Scientific and Organizing Committee

Francesco Cacciatore, Editor in Chief «Occupied Italy» 

Giulia Clarizia, Università degli Studi Roma Tre 

Mariamichela Landi, Università degli Studi di Salerno 

Sarah Anna-Maria Lias Ceide, University of Münster 

Mariangela Palmieri, Università degli Studi di Salerno 

Nemola Zecca, Université Côte d’Azur 

The project CERV 2023 “Audio Visuals And Languages Analysis Network for Cultural Heritage in Europe – Avalanche of Democracy” has supported by the European Commission – DG Justice and Consumers – in the program “European Remembrance”, and has the following partners: Associazione Culturale Mubat (publisher of «Occupied Italy»); Fondazione Centro Di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea CDEC; Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki; Universite De Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines; Italgas Heritage Lab.