international conference and photographic exhibition
Official Commemoration of the Centenary of World War One
February 24, 25 and 26, 2014
2014 will mark the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, a tragic conflict that has shaped world history ever since.
The impact of the First World War on the colonies was profound and many-sided. A conflict that began in the Balkans turned into a general European war in July and August 1914, and then took on extra-European dimensions, as some of the belligerent states ranked as the most important colonial powers globally. Not only did about 650,000 colonial troops fight on the European battlefields but colonies such as German East Africa became war theatres in their own right, while the conflict provided Irish nationalists with an opportunity to strike for independence from the British Empire.
European societies were put in direct contact with the colonised. For instance, France recruited 220,000 workers from its empire (Algeria, Indochina, Morocco, Tunisia and Madagascar) as well as from China to work behind the lines. These direct contacts dramatically affected the perception Europeans had of their colonies.
The conflict had special relevance to the Indian subcontinent as Britain, the ruling colonial power mobilised 1.5 million Indian soldiers during the war, of which about 90,000 were killed. Some 150,000 Indian soldiers were deployed in Europe from September 1914 on. The overwhelming majority of Indian troops, however, fought in Mesopotamia against the Ottoman Empire. Some also fought on the Eastern African front.
Last but not least, World War I spelt the beginning of the end for colonial powers, as they could no longer entertain the myth of their so-called “superiority” in the eyes of increasingly independently minded natives and betrayed the promises they had made to justify massive recruitment.
On the occasion of the commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Alliance Française de Dhaka is organising an exhibition and an international conference on the theme of “War and colonies”. The exhibition will show 35 rare photographs of colonial troops in the Great War and the conference will bring together French, German, Irish, American, Indian and Bangladeshi historians who will present papers related to the chosen theme. Though it will be touching on the relationship between WWI and the colonies from diverse angles, this two-day seminar will offer an exceptional focus on Bengal during the period, with no less than five papers devoted to it.
Project Organiser and Curator
Director, Alliance Française de Dhaka
February 24, 2014 at La Galerie, Alliance Française de Dhaka: a unique exhibition of photographs of colonial troops engaged in the Great War.
February 25 and 26, 2014 at Senate Hall, University of Dhaka: a two-day conference on “War and Colonies, 1914-1918”, bringing together Bangladeshi experts and internationally renowned historians from France, Germany, Ireland, the USA and India.
Prof. Dr Imtiaz Ahmed (University of Dhaka):
Confronting WWI: Tagore, Gandhi, MN Roy and the Anti-colonial Resistance in India ABSTRACT
Dr Syeda Rozana Rashid (University of Dhaka):
First World War Implications of Labour Migration between and from Colonies: The Case of the Indian Sub-Continent ABSTRACT
Prof. Dr Iftekhar Iqbal (University of Dhaka):
The Environmental Impact of WWI: Afro-Asian Experiences ABSTRACT
Mofidul Hoque (Liberation War Museum, Dhaka):
From War-front to the Front of National Liberation: The Impact of WWI on Kazi Nazrul Islam ABSTRACT
Lt Col. Muhammad Lutful Haq (Advisor Research and Archives, “Prothom Alo”):
Bengali Volunteers of Chandannagar in the French Army ABSTRACT
Prof. Dr Frédéric Rousseau (University of Montpellier):
The Presence of Colonial Troops in French War Museums ABSTRACT
Prof. Dr Gilbert Meynier (University of Lorraine):
Algerians and the First World War ABSTRACT
Dr Samuel Berthet (Shiv Nadar University, India):
The Impact of the First World War on Law and National Sovereignty ABSTRACT
Dr Rainer Bendick (Abendgymnasium Sophie Scholl, Osnabrück):
The Rediscovered War - German Historiography and Warfare in the Colonies ABSTRACT
Prof. Dr Mushirul Hasan (National Archives of India):
Indian Reactions to the First World War ABSTRACT
Dr Kaushik Roy (Jadavpur University, Kolkata):
Captain Kalyan Kumar Mukhopadhyay, A Bengali Officer in Mesopotamia ABSTRACT
Sqn Ldr Rana Chhina (USI Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, New Delhi):
Bhadralok Warriors: The Bengali Military Experience in the First World War ABSTRACT
Philip Orr (Independent Scholar, Belfast):
Ireland and the First World War – the Search for a Modern Identity Narrative ABSTRACT
United States of America:
Prof. Dr Richard Fogarty (University at Albany):
Between France and Germany: North African Muslims as Soldiers and Prisoners in the Great War ABSTRACT
Prof. Dr Kris Manjapra (Tufts University):
A War of Illusions: German Attempts to 'Revolutionise' the Colonial World during the First World War (via Skype) ABSTRACT
26 Mirpur Road, Corner of
Road #3, Dhanmondi
University of Dhaka