Colonial Volunteerism and Recruitment in the British Empire during the Great War

Andrekos Varnava, Michael Walsh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War seemed a timely occasion on which to call a meeting of leading international scholars to conduct a critical investigation into some lesser-known aspects of the relationship between the conflict and the British Empire. That the conference, entitled British Empire and the Great War: Colonial Societies/Cultural Responses, took place in Singapore, and was organised by a Northern Irish academic resident there and a Cypriot domiciled in Australia, again, seemed most relevant. The problematique of the conference focused on a decentralisation of sociocultural analysis, away from the more predictable metropolitan perspectives, to make way for an analysis of contrasts and complementarities of ideology throughout the geographical and ethnic extremes of both the “formal” and “informal” empire. From Singapore to Australia, Cyprus to Ireland, India to Canada, South Africa to Mesopotamia, New Zealand to Argentina, and around the rest of the British impe-rial world, further complexities and interlocking themes were addressed relating to an array of subjects including: imperial and colonial history, war and society, war and culture, art history, cultural studies, diaspora, loyalties/disloyalties, music history, photography, propaganda, education, pacifism, gender studies, class and race structures/relations. Of particular interest was how different strata and subsets of imperial society shaped and were shaped by the experience of total war; and how disparate societies and cultures—in all their manifestations and on their various“home fronts”—shaped and were shaped by it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-26
    Number of pages8
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


    • Great War
    • British Empire
    • Volunteerism
    • Recruitment
    • Colonial


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