Université de Strasbourg

War times

War Times: Experiences, Perceptions and Representations of Time during the Great War (1914-1918)

USIAS Fellow : Nicolas Beaupré

The past twenty years or so have been characterised by major upheavals in the history of the Great War. Cultural history has dramatically changed research on this conflict by laying emphasis on social actors and how they perceived the world at war in which they lived. At the same time, the historiography has become increasingly cross-national and transnational. This project, which will culminate with the writing of a 250 to 300-page-long essay, takes both of these paradigm shifts into consideration. Its main goal is to contribute to a better understanding of how men and women are situating themselves in a War-Time.

This project investigates how social actors experienced, perceived and represented time between 1914 and 1918. It considers whether they were aware of entering a new temporality of war, or even a new epoch. It also asks whether they saw this change as a ‘disruption’, a ‘shift’ or a ‘slide’ into war, as a ‘thickening’ of the thread of time or as a parenthesis opening. The implications of these representations are investigated. What effects of the distinctive has anonymous mass death on the perception and representation of their mortality and on the way they fit within time? How was time experienced on the battlefront and on the homefront, in occupied countries and in the different belligerent societies? How did the combination of an experience of time at a standstill and of nearly eschatological expectations placed in the end of the war work?   

France 2030