The International Society for First World War Studies was founded by Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle in the run-up to the first European Conference in First World War Studies, held at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyons (France), on the 7th and 8th of September, 2001.
This conference gathered together an international group of postgraduate and postdoctoral scholars dedicated to the study of the First World War. The conference aimed to create the conditions of an academic debate that would cut across national and disciplinary boundaries. It also intended to give young researchers the opportunity to present and discuss their work, in a collegial fashion, with more senior scholars in the field.
Building on the enthusiastic response to this event, the Society has since become an international network of scholars that spans generations and continents alike to support the historical study of the First World War.
The Society organizes or sponsors conferences, seminars, workshops, reading groups and publications to promote the study of the First World War, to foster international collaboration, to encourage the comparative history of the war, and to facilitate exchanges across disciplines and generations of scholars. It also maintains a website dedicated to these goals.
The Society and its members are especially committed to the establishment and development of a professional yet collegial academic forum, open to any scholar, irrespective of his or her degree of academic seniority or disciplinary affiliation. However, encouraging work by scholars who are relatively new to the field remains an overriding objective. Hence every initiative or event organized or sponsored by the Society must give pride of place to postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early-career researchers. In this way, the Society strives to encourage and promote any innovative study of the First World War.
The Society acknowledges the contribution of other groups and institutions to the study of the First World War. In keeping with the objectives herewith stated, it will therefore establish collaborations and partnerships with other learned or academic societies, research centres, universities, libraries and museums.
The Society recognises, in particular, the necessity for academic historians to engage with other historians of the war and with the wider audience interested in the subject. While committed to the preservation of its intellectual autonomy, the Society is therefore committed, through the individual and collective works of its members, to enhancing the public understanding of the First World War.
For further information, please visit the Society’s website.