The historiography of the First World War still betrays the continuing dominance of national and Eurocentric perspectives. The conventional chronology of the war (1914-1918) is another heritage of conventional diplomatic and military history. Recent works have, however, stressed the necessity to place the First World War in a larger chronological framework (1911-1923); in a continuum of colonial conflicts, European wars, civil wars, revolutions, political violence and genocide.
Likewise concerned with the transformations of warfare, I have recently been working to develop a historical geography of the war to further our understanding of the totalizing and globalizing logic of the First World War. The conventional geography of the war, inherited from operational history, reduces the war to belligerency and military operations. Shifting the emphasis to belligerence and the mobilization of resources in response to the war will allow us to redefine both the spaces and temporalities of war. I intend to locate the conflict and trace its gradual penetration within and beyond the belligerent empires, to include the experience of neutrals and colonial societies.
Attentive to the varying intensity and spread of the conflict, to the global flows of manpower and material resources, as well as to the environmental and cultural impacts of the conflict, this project seeks to rethink the experience of combat, mobilization, and reconstructions and to remap the Great War, 100 years on.
Such a agenda calls for a collaborative effort that would produce a global history of the First World War. This project will explore all relevant spaces of the war experience; from local to global through nations and empires.