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Nostalgic for War: Reflections on the Stories we tell about World War Two a...

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Alcuin Research Resources Centre

ARC/014

University of York

York

YO10 5DD

United Kingdom

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This talk examines how nostalgia for the Second World War has come to pervade contemporary political and everyday discourse. It asks what this can tell us about the political effects of the way we come to understand previous conflicts and in particular questions what role nostalgia for this war may play in facilitating contemporary militarism. Paying particular attention to the ways in which contemporary narratives about the Second World War exclude and oversimplify certain socio-economic, gendered, racialised and sexualised experiences, I argue that the Second World War works to legitimise a vision of Britain as a reluctant but responsible global power in spite of the insecurity its foreign policy and military action facilitates for many both within and beyond the British polity. Working from the premise that militarism is not only the outcome of bellicosity but can also come about through desire and ambivalence, the talk also considers some of the key ways in which the Second World War is imagined and performed as a leisure activity. By reducing war to a matter of pleasure and consumerism, I argue that nostalgia for the Second World War also risks facilitating militarism by minimising its visceral, material and human costs.

Dr Victoria Basham

Dr Victoria Basham is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University. Her research interests lie in the field of critical military studies at the intersections of feminist international relations, critical geopolitics and international political sociology and her main interest is in the co-constitutive relationships between war, militarism and everyday life. Victoria is co-editor in chief of the journal, Critical Military Studies and co-editor of the Advances in Critical Military Studiesbook series for Edinburgh University Press. She is also serving as the President of the European International Studies Association from 2017-2019.

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Please see the University campus map for the location of ARC/014 which is in the Alcuin Research Resource Centre. The building is opposite the Alcuin Teaching Block (Seebohm Rowntree Building) reception. The room is on the ground floor at the far end from the main entrance, around the corner, behind the lift. The closet public car park is Campus North car park. Parking costs £1 per hour and you can pay using coins or via a mobile phone via the RingGo parking. For information on public transport to the University please see the Travel and Transport webpages.

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Alcuin Research Resources Centre

ARC/014

University of York

York

YO10 5DD

United Kingdom

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