CfP: From War to Welfare. Global Perspectives since the 19th Century (Journal: Contemporanea); DL: 15.08.2018

Special Issue of the italian journal „Contemporanea“ (Web)

Proposals by: August 15, 2018

A large body of scholarship has shown how the experience of the two world wars in the twentieth century was a crucial catalyst for the creation of modern welfare states. However, war’s role in social legislation has yet to be conceptualized more fully. In mainstream comparative literature on the welfare state, war is typically considered a rare, anomalous occurrence that is conceived as a kind of exogenous shock, as an ‚abnormal event‘, a ‚black swan‘ emergency or a critical juncture. In this way, war has constituted a gray zone in the history of the welfare state.

By contrast, the question of the origins and development of social protection systems has been viewed primarily in relation to processes of modernization or as an instrument for managing social conflict.

Nonetheless, recent studies of different national contexts have shown the fruitfulness of an approach that looks at the welfare state through the interpretative paradigm of the welfare-warfare link (for example: Scheidel 2017; Obinger–Petersen 2015; Castle 2010). Moreover, recent research has also highlighted how wartime conflicts involved planning processes that cast long shadows over the subsequent peacetime. Antecedent conditions and long-term social policy repercussions of war in postconflict periods must therefore be carefully analyzed, and from comparative, connective and global perspectives, in order to highlight the broader ways in which war and welfare have intersected in the past and over time.

This special issue of Contemporanea aims to reflect on the multifaceted causal links between war and the development of welfare states, which are conceived here broadly to include not only national social legislation but also the myriad of social programmes that flourished in the wake of war. We invite proposals that examine the welfare-warfare nexus over more than two centuries (19th-20th) and on a wide variety of geographic and political contexts (among them also colonial and post-colonial contexts).

In particular, Contemporanea would welcome proposals focusing on the following topics as they relate to the welfare-warfare nexus:

  • Questions related to gender, sexuality and the family
  • Tax systems and equality
  • Public health and assistance
  • Risk and social insurance
  • Mass conscription
  • Labour legislation
  • And other topics that highlight how conflicts have served (or not served) as accelerators in the national and transnational debates on approaches to social protection

The proposals (600 words maximum) accompanied by a brief (2-page max) CV should be sent by August 15, 2018 to the editors Julia Moses (, Ilaria Pavan ( and Chiara Giorgi ( along with a CC to the editorial secretary (

Responses will be sent by e-mail by September 30, 2018, and the selected essays must be submitted in their final form by February 28, 2019. All manuscripts will be refereed through a peer-review process (double blind). The special issue will be published by Summer 2020. Please note that all manuscripts should be submitted in English.

Contemporanea publishes contributions in Italian and English. For more information about the journal: Contemporanea is indexed by: ISI Web of Science (Art & Humanities Citation Index), Scopus Bibliographic Database, Historical Abstracts, America: History and Life, Articoli italiani di periodici accademici (AIDA), Journal Seek, Essper, Bibliografia storica nazionale, Catalogo italiano dei periodici (ACNP), Google Scholar

Source: H-Net Notifications