International Conference: Embattled nature: men and landscapes on the Eastern Front of WWI

University of Vienna, March 9 – 10, 2023

Aula, Campus of the University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna

Prof. Kerstin Susanne Jobst (Osteuropäische Geschichte),
Prof. Dr. Kerstin von Lingen (Zeitgeschichte)

The 1914-1918 war on the Eastern Front rapidly militarised the vast territories from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Great War in the East can however also be perceived as a learning system for infrastructure, fortification and epidemic control in occupied territories, and a confrontation between the two collapsing Empires, Tsarist Russia and the k.&k. Habsburg Monarchy. The spatial and ecological dimensions of the first industrial war and its conflict landscapes have recently become central to the research debate.

This conference aims to cover the research gap regarding the Eastern Front and its imperial debris by the two collapsing Empires, taking also insights from comparative views to other frontlines, occupation politics and edge of Empire research.

Seats for Participants are limited: please sign in here


Den Tagungsbericht finden Sie hier - oder als [pdf]


Thursday, 9 March 2023

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome

9:15 – 10:30 Opening lecture + Discussion

Prof. Nicholas Saunders (Bristol University)
Conflict landscapes at the edge of Empire: Archaeology of a Desert Insurgency – the Arab Revolt, 1916-18

Chair: Prof. Dr. Kerstin Susanne Jobst (Vienna University)

11:00 – 13:00 Panel 1. Environment as the Battlefield: Rivers, Mountains and Forests in Military Strategies
Chair: Prof. Dr. Klaus Gestwa (Tübingen University)

Dr. Christoph Nübel (Bundeswehr Center for Military History and Social Sciences, Potsdam)
Scorched Earth. 'Unternehmen Alberich' as a Case Study for WW1 Warscapes Analysis

Prof. Dr. Gustavo Corni (University of Trento)
Transformation of the landscape: the war logistics on the Plateau of Lavarone and Folgaria at the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy

MA David Novotny (Vienna University)
City, Forts and the San - Przemysl, 1914-15: Contemporary perception of the fortified city

Commentary: Prof. Dr. Kerstin von Lingen (Vienna University)

14:00 – 16:00 Panel 2. Belligerent landscapes of WWI in Individual Narratives and Propaganda
Chair: Doz. Dr. Hannes Leidinger (Vienna University)

Dr. Wolfram Dornik (Municipal Archives of Graz)
Space and Environment in individual Testimonies of German speaking Soldiers of Habsburg Army, 1914-18

MA Alexandra Likhacheva (Yaroslavl Pedagogical University)
Galicia’s Landscapes of the First World War in the Prism of the Photographic Camera: Visualisation of the Belligerent Spaces

Dr. Elisabeth Haid-Lener (Vienna University)
Galician Landscapes as an Element of Austrian and Russian War Propaganda

Commentary: Prof. Dr. Oksana Nagornaya (Yaroslavl Pedagogical University)

16:30 – 18:30 Panel 3. Occupied landscapes of the Eastern front: owning and managing the enemy space
Chair: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mueller (Vienna University)

Prof. Dr. Stephan Lehnstaedt (Touro University, Campus Berlin)
Know what you occupy: The Surveying of Poland by the Central Powers

Dr. Yaroslav Golubinov (Samara University)
Oil as a resource and element of defence: the cases of Galicia 1915 and Romania 1916

Prof. Dr. Oksana Nagornaya (Yaroslavl Pedagogical University)
Occupied Landscapes and Environmental Transformation on the Eastern Front of the First World War

Commentary: PD Dr. Daniel Marc Segesser (Bern University)

Friday, 10 March 2023

8:30 – 10:30 Panel 4. Imperial Debris: toxic war estate and demilitarization of landscapes in the era of revolutions and imperial collapse
Chair: Prof. Dr. Tanja Penter (Heidelberg University)

Dr. Tait Keller (Rhodes College)
The Environmental Costs of Imperial Collapse: War Lands on the Eastern Front

Dr. Yulia Zherdeva (Samara University)
Toxic heritage of the war: demilitarization of Eastern Front landscapes

Dr. Kamil Ruszała, (Jagiellonian University)
Monuments between the ruins: the landscape of Galicia after the battle

Commentary: PD Dr. Tamara Scheer (Vienna University/ Päpstliches Institut Santa Maria dell’Anima)

11:00 – 12:30 Panel 5. Hospitals and burials: medicine at war
Chair: Prof. Dr. Christa Hämmerle (Vienna University)

MA Andrea Rendl (Vienna University)
“Dangerous experiment“ vs. “Great blessing“: Vaccination and Healthcare Narratives of the Imperial and Royal Army at the Eastern Front (1914-1916)

Prof. Józef Żychowski, Dr. Paweł Struś (Krakow Pedagogical University)
The impact of World War I cemeteries on the concentration of elements in the soil of these cemeteries located in south-eastern Poland

Commentary: Prof. Dr. Claudia Theune (Vienna University) 

12:30 – 13:30: Final debate: Spatial turn and environmental history in the era of Anthropocene. Research of the WWI: new approaches and sources

This conference was kindly made possible by funding from FWF (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung), Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, and Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät.