Return to the source
Posted by Nick Milne on November 9, 2011
In four hours I’ll be boarding a train that will take me back to London ON for the first time since the completion of my MA at the University of Western Ontario in the fall of 2008. It’s not that I’ve had no reason to go back since then – the people I like are still there, the city still has things to appeal to me. It’s just never come up, somehow.
Still, all that changed when I was informed that several departments at the university had joined forces to hold a conference that’s right up my alley. The Great War: From Memory to History will run from November 10th through 12th, and will see scholars from all corners of the earth meet to discuss the ways in which the war has been chronicled, remembered, even misunderstood.
One of those scholars is me, as it happens. I’ll be presenting a paper detailing the history of alternate histories of the war, which will provide a sense of the war’s place in allhistorical studies and offer inquiry into just why there aren’t more retro-speculative engagements with a military and cultural event that had such awesome consequences. Arthur Conan Doyle and Jorge Luis Borges will both be cited; it will be a hell of a show.
I look forward to the trip immensely as a chance to return to the city I called home for five years and reconnect with the people and places that meant so much to me, but also as an opportunity to meet other academics in my field. This will be the first time since the development of my obsession with this subject that I’ll be in the same room with more than one other person who’s just as interested in it as I am. It should be quite a treat.
A report will surely follow, so stay tuned.