Dr Leighton James, associate professor of history at Swansea University and member of CRAM, is currently involved in a HERA funded project entitled. ‘Making War, Mapping Europe’. Warfare has been one of the most significant but overlooked engines of cultural encounter in modern European history. The era of mass armies inaugurated by the French Revolution involved millions in cultural encounters to which they would not otherwise have been exposed. During the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War, and at many points between, hundreds of thousands embarked on military expeditions to distant places both within Europe and on Europe’s periphery. Warfare has thus created extended ‘contact zones’ in which cultural exchanges and engagements (as well as acts of violence and brutality) have taken place.
Through a series of interlocking case-studies focusing on encounters between Western European armies (British, French and German) and the peoples and cultures of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the collaborative research project explores the distinctive characteristics of militarized cultural encounters and how they have shaped the collective mental map of Europe and its borders between 1792 and 1920.
Follow the link below to view the project’s virtual exhibition: