Colloquium Past Terms

MKGD Online Research Colloquium: Past Terms



Program in the Summer Term 2024 (PDF)
The language of the presentations will be German or English

Theme: Military, War and Gender/Diversity: State of Research and Research Problems


Monday, April 29, 2024, 4-6 pm (10 am-12 pm EST), ZOOM Seminar

(University of Basel) 

War and Gender in the Early Modern Period (ca. 1400-1800) – A Research Overview

It is not without reason that the early modern period is also known as the “Iron Age”. Numerous and sometimes long-lasting wars shaped the centuries between the Middle Ages and the modern era, and the considerable influence of war and the military on early modern societies can be observed accordingly. In gender history research, however, the wars of the early modern period have so far received comparatively little attention. After initial research on the few fighting Amazons, the women in the “Tross” of the mercenary armies of the 16th and 17th centuries, the women soldiers in the armies of the 18th century and the female victims of military combat, research in the last three decades has focused primarily on the significance of images and rituals of masculinity in war and the military of the early modern period. The lecture will first briefly recapitulate the history of warfare in the early modern period before critically reflecting on the results of gender history research from the last three decades and formulating open research questions.

CLAUDIA OPITZ-BELAKHAL was Professor of Modern History at the University of Basel until the beginning of 2023. Her areas of research include the (gender) history of the early modern period, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. She was one of the first scholars to examine early modern military history from a gender perspective. Her publications include: Geschlechter-geschichte (Campus, 2010); ed., Um-Ordnungen der Geschlechter. Einführung in die Geschlechtergeschichte (discord, 2005); Das Universum des Jean Bodin. Staatsbildung, Macht und Geschlecht im 16. Jahrhundert (Campus, 2006); Militärreformen zwischen Bürokratisierung und Adelsreaktion. The French Ministry of War and its reforms in the officer corps from 1760-1790 (Thorbecke, 1994).

Presentation in German.

Introduction and Moderation: Prof. Dr. Isbelle Deflers (University of the Bundeswehr Munich)

PDF of the Flyer.


Monday, May 27, 2024, 4-6 pm (10 am-12 pm EST) ZOOM Seminar

(University of Vienna)

The Road to “People’s War”: Military, Gender and Violence in the ‘Long’ Nineteenth Century

From 1793 to 1914/18, there were fundamental changes in military recruitment and the way war was waged. These – with a focus on the consequences for men, women and children – will be the focus o f my lecture. The arc spans from the revolutionary wars in France and the Napoleonic Wars, when a “levée en masse” or the concept of general (male) conscription was ‘tested’ for the first time in Europe and talk of the modern “people’s war” circulated, to the development up to the First World War, which was characterized by asynchronicity. The idea that the military should be a “school of masculinity” that every male citizen fit for military service had to undergo became a guiding principle in the course of the 19th century, but in practice it was realized with many breaks and ambivalences. The integration of women (and children) into this process towards a war supported by an entire nation, which culminated for the first time in the summer of 1914 in the so-called “primal catastrophe of the 20th century”, was similarly inconsistent.

CHRISTA HÄMMERLE was Associate Professor of Modern History and Women’s and Gender History at the Institute of History at the University of Vienna until October 2023, where she headed the “Collection of Women’s Legacies”, among other things. Since the 1990s, her research has focused on war, military and violence research in the 19th and 20th centuries, whereby she has often set new accents – also evaluating a wide variety of personal testimonies. Her most recent publications include the monograph Ganze Männer? Gesellschaft, Geschlecht und Allgemeine Wehrpflicht in Österreich-Ungarn (1868 bis 1914) (Campus 2022), as well as the volume Erinnerungsbilder und Gedächtniskonstruktionen. Case Studies on the Legacy of the First World War in Central Europe (1918-1939), ed. with Gerald Lamprecht and Oswald Überegger (Campus 2024).

Presentation in German.

Introduction and Moderation: PD Dr. Anke Fischer-Kattner (University of the Bundeswehr Munich)

PDF of the Flyer.


Monday, June 17, 2024, 4-6 pm (10 am-12 pm EST) ZOOM Seminar

(Clark University)

Military Masculinities in the Age of the World Wars

The mobilization of larger sections of the population than ever before for “total” wars called into question the exclusivity of the prevailing ideal of heroic, martial masculinity – the soldier as the embodiment of unchallenged discipline, emotional toughness against himself and others. To the extent that men of extremely different psychological and physical constitutions were recruited for the war, traditional military masculinity norms opened up in favor of a “protean”, flexible notion of soldierly masculine identity that culminated not in the defense but in the integration of certain feelings and behaviors that were commonly coded as feminine. The lecture examines these processes with a view to similarities and differences in Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA for the period from 1900 to 1960 and at the same time discusses the development of international research on the topic since the 1990s.

THOMAS KÜHNE is the Strassler Colin Flug Chair in Holocaust History and Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Clark University, Worcester/Massachusetts. He is one of the pioneers of research into historical masculinities. His research interests include the relationship between war, genocide and society and long-term traditions of political culture and political emotions in Europe. His most recent book publications include: The Soldiers of the Nazi War and the 20th Century (Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2006); Belonging and Genocide. Hitler’s Community, 1918-1945 (Yale University Press, 2010); The Rise and Fall of Comradeship. Hitler’s Soldiers: Male Bonding and Mass Violence in the 20th Century (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Ed., Masculinity and the Third Reich, special issue of Central European History 51, no. 1 (2018).

Presentation in English.

Introduction and Moderation: Prof. Dr. Karen Hagemann (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

PDF of the Flyer.


Monday, July 8, 2024, 4-6 pm (10 am-12 pm EST) ZOOM Seminar

(Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur)

Conflict-related Sexual Violence: From the First World War to the 21st Century

Sexual violence was and is part of wars and armed conflicts. For centuries, it was accepted as an unpleasant but ‚natural‘ side effect of military violence that did not need to be investigated. It was not until the 1960s that feminist interventions in the women’s, civil rights and peace movements made this form of violence visible as a gender-specific crime and serious violation of human rights. Since the 1990s, conflict-related sexual violence has increasingly been interpreted as a weapon of war. However, it is now clear that this interpretation is insufficient to describe and understand who does what to whom when sexual violence is perpetrated. This talk uses historical case studies to shed light on the findings, debates and pitfalls of research.

REGINA MÜHLHÄUSER is a research associate at the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Research and Culture and was until recently a visiting researcher at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is co-founder and coordinator of the International Research Group “Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict”. One focus of her research is on what is sexual and what is gendered about sexual violence. Her publications include: Sex and the Nazi Soldier. Violent, Commercial and Consensual Encounters during the War in the Soviet Union (Edinburgh University Press, 2021); Before Everyone’s Eyes. Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, ed. with Gaby Zipfel and Kirsten Campbell (Hamburger Edition, 2021); “Körper, Sexualität, Gewalt. Notes on the understanding of sexual violence against women and men”. In: The Presence of Violence and the Power of Enlightenment. Festschrift for Jan Philipp Reemtsma, ed. Susanne Fischer et al, vol. 1 (Meiner, 2022), pp. 371-393.

Presentation in English.

Introduction: Prof. Dr. Karen Hagemann (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Moderation: Dr. Kerstin Bischel (Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS))

PDF of the Flyer.

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