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The Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at King’s College London will be hosting a virtual book launch for Multilingual Environments in the Great War, the third volume in the series Languages and the First World War. This book explores the differing ways in which language has been used to try to make sense of the First World War. Offering further developments in an innovative approach to the study of the conflict, it develops a transnational viewpoint of the experience of war to reveal less expected areas of language use during the conflict.

Taking the study of the First World War far beyond the Western Front, chapters examine experiences in many regions, including Africa, Armenia, post-war Australia, Russia and Estonia, and a variety of contexts, from prisoner-of-war and internment camps, to food queues and post-war barracks. Drawing upon a wide variety of languages, such as Esperanto, Flemish, Italian, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Romanian and Turkish, Multilingual Environments in the Great War brings together language experiences of conflict from both combatants and the home front, connecting language and literature with linguistic analysis of the immediacy of communication.

The event will feature insights from the editors, brief remarks from five international contributing authors, and an opportunity for Q&A with the audience.

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Dr Hillary Briffa is a lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of ‘Malta in the First World War’ appearing in Languages and the First World War: Communicating in a Transnational War (edited by Walker and Declerq, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Mr Julian Walker (co-editor) is the co-director of the Languages and the First World War project and lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts. He is the co-author of Trench Talk (2012), and the author of Words and the First World War (Bloomsbury, 2017) and Tommy French (Sword and Pen, 2020).

Dr Christophe Declerq (co-editor) is a senior lecturer at CenTraS, University College London, and lecturer at KU Leuven, Brussels Campus. He is the author of two books on Languages and the First World War (co-edited with Julian Walker, Palgrave-MacMillan 2016) and Intercultural Crisis Communication: Translating, Interpreting and Languages in Local Crises (Bloomsbury 2019, with Federico Federici).

Dr Chris Kempshall (contributing author) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Army Leadership, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is the author of The First World War in Computer Games (Palgrave, 2015) and British, French and American Relations on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (Palgrave, 2018).

Dr Steve Witt (contributing author) is the Director of the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at the University of Illinois and editor of IFLA Journal, the flagship journal of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. He is currently working on a long-term project to complete a global history on the public information campaigns of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP).

Dr Fabian Van Samang (contributing author) studied Modern History (1994-1998) and International Relations and Conflict Prevention (1998-1999) at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and currently works as editorial secretary for the academic journal of the Auschwitz Foundation, Getuigen. Tussen geschiedenis en herinnering, and as editor-in-chief for Tijdschrift voor Mensenrechten (Journal of Human Rights). He has written substantially on the history of war and genocide, on ghettoization policy and NS-language.

Dr Connie Ruzich (contributing author) is a Professor of English at Robert Morris University; her Ph.D. is from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the editor of International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices, published by Bloomsbury (2020) and the author of ‘Distanced, Disembodied, Detached: Women’s Poetry of the First World War’, appearing in An International Rediscovery of World War One: Distant Fronts, published by Routledge (2020).

Ms Julia Ribeiro S. C. Thomaz (contributing author) is a PhD student in French Literature at the Université Paris Nanterre and in History at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. She is a collaborator of the Poésie Grande Guerre project, dedicated to building an online relational database of French poets of the Great War and a founding member of the Une Plus Grande Guerre network for early-career scholars.

Dr Jiří Hutečka (contributing author) is an Associate Professor at the Institute of History, University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, specializing in the cultural and social history of modern warfare. His most recent book Men under Fire. Motivation, Morale and Masculinity among Czech soldiers of the Great War, 1914-1918 (early version published in Czech in 2016) was published in early 2020 by Berghahn Books.

Dr Jane Potter (contributing author) is Reader in Arts at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, Oxford Brookes University. Her publications include Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print: Women’s Literary Responses to the Great War, 1914-1918 (Oxford University Press, 2005), Three Poets of the First World War: Ivor Gurney, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen(Penguin Classics, 2011) edited with Jon Stallworthy, Wilfred Owen: An Illustrated Life (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014), and, with Carol Acton, Working in a World of Hurt: Trauma and Resilience in the Narratives of Medical Personnel in War Zones (Manchester University Press, 2015).


At this event

Hillary  Briffa

Lecturer in National Security Studies