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Call for Papers - Unheard Voices

Event date Event time Event location
20/06/2017 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Leeds City Museum, Millenium Square, Leeds

A one-day conference funded by the AHRC-funded Gateways to the First World War engagement centre, being held at Leeds City Museum in partnership with the University of Leeds, on 20th June 2017.

A Call for Papers has now been issued.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Jenny Macleod, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century History (University of Hull), and author of Reconsidering Gallipoli (2004) and Gallipoli (2015) Dr Jane Potter, Reader (Oxford Brookes University), and author of Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life (2014) and the forthcoming Cambridge History of World War One Poetry.

Although the term “war poetry” is often dominated by poets of the Western Front like Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and John McCrae, there is also a great body of literature to be discovered in other fronts of the Great War. One of these overlooked yet equally disastrous fronts is the Gallipoli Campaign.

Often credited as the first modern amphibious military operation, the Gallipoli Campaign was a futile attempt to achieve a decisive victory against the Central powers. When it came to an end in January 1916, it had devoured about half a million soldiers from both sides. A century on, Gallipoli is still in the centre of many scholarly studies, although historical, political or military aspects of the campaign so far cover much of what has been said about the expedition. While there is still much to discover about the campaign as a military and political intervention, the literary, sociological, and cultural side of Gallipoli has often been overlooked.

The wars in Gallipoli inspired a great number of poems with a multitude of perspectives. Especially after the unexpected death of Rupert Brooke and the heroic stories of “6 VCs before breakfast,” many poets at home felt the need to write on Gallipoli to encourage soldiers and honour those who lost their lives. Poems from the fighting men were more varied. There were poems written by the educated young British officers, enthusiastic and brave Australians, adventurous New Zealanders, and, on the other side of the firing line, Turks, as the defenders. Some of these poets saw bravery and fear, bloodshed and friendship, or Achilles and Hector when they looked at the Gallipoli peninsula. Others composed poems on simpler things of life in trenches: a dog on a walk in the firing line, men bathing in the sea, or lice and flies. Either way, these poets represented a body of men fighting a war that had proved to be different from what they expected.

Organised by the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies and Centre for World Literatures at the University of Leeds in partnership with Leeds City Museum, this one-day conference aims to bring together scholars who are interested in the literary legacy of the Gallipoli Campaign with emphasis on the poetry from this front written by combatants and non-combatants alike. The objective is to examine the less canonised, forgotten, or undiscovered voices of the Gallipoli Front, in order to evoke interest in these poets and explore the diversity of their works.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Critical appreciation of soldier poems from Gallipoli

Differences between the poetry from the Western front and the Gallipoli Campaign

Differences between the poems written by fighting men and those writtenby male or female poets behind the lines

Diggers’ poems and/or life in trenches in poetry from Gallipoli

Social, cultural, and literary heritage of the campaign

Humour in soldier poems from Gallipoli

The Anzac legacy in poetry

Turkish poetry on Gallipoli and its legacy

The myth of Rupert Brooke

Poems from the prisoners of war

C. E. W. Bean and the Anzac Book

Representation of the enemy in poetry

Heroism and bravery in Gallipoli poems

National concerns and the signs of nationhood in Anzac and Turkish poems

The daytime presentations will be followed by an evening event with the acclaimed poet, writer, and broadcaster Ian McMillan reading from his poems and discussing the poetry on Gallipoli.

Conference organisers:

Dr Richard Hibbitt, Director of the Centre for World Literatures, University of Leeds

Professor Alison Fell, Professor of French Cultural History, University of Leeds

Dr Berkan Ulu, Visiting Research Fellow at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds (TUBITAK scholar: Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council)

Lucy Moore, Curator (projects – WW1), Leeds Museums and Galleries


Paper proposals should include a title, a 500-word abstract, and a short biographical note with institutional affiliation (where appropriate) and email contact.

Submissions and Queries regarding the Conference or papers to Dr Berkan Ulu: B.Ulu@leeds.ac.uk or telephone 0113 243 1751.

Queries regarding access may be directed to citymuseum@leeds.gov.uk or telephone 0113 224 3732.


NOTIFICATION: 30 April 2017

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