Reconsidering Anti-War Films

As the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War approaches, films about the conflict are being re-examined.  Perhaps the most famous film about the First World War is Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, which is often hailed as the quintessential anti-war film because of its depiction of the brutality and horror of trench warfare.

Tom Brook has published a new article on anti-war films in the BBC. “The World War I centenary is giving films that oppose conflict a renewed currency,” he writes. “In London this week an anti-war classic, Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 picture Paths of Glory set in the trenches of World War I, is being screened at a special film season curated by Sir Peter Jackson. In the US this summer several anti-war classics are being shown in a special series at the American Film Institute , including Jean Renoir’s 1937 picture Grand Illusion, which conveys the view that war is futile.”


Image: a still from Stanley Kubrick, Paths of Glory (1957).

The French film director François Truffaut once allegedly remarked that “There’s no such thing as an anti-war film.” Other filmmakers have expressed similar sentiments on the difficulty or impossibility of creating a film that truly opposes war. Brook argues that “There are different ways to interpret this remark but it’s widely agreed that Truffaut was suggesting that movies will inevitably glorify combat when they portray the adventure and thrill of conflict – and the camaraderie between soldiers.”

Tom Brook’s “Is There any Such Thing as an ‘Anti-War Film’?” appears in the BBC online.

Northern Illinois University students in HIST 390 History and Film: War in Film will find this article useful.


Posted in Atrocities, Historical Film, History in the Media, History of Violence, Human Rights, War in Film, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Summit on Sexual Violence

A global summit is currently being held in London on the problem of sexual violence in warfare. The summit, entitled “The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict,” is sponsored by the government of the United Kingdom.

“For a long time, wartime rape was treated with a shrug. But now, the U.N. has begun to document the problem, to understand just how widespread it is,” according to a report by NPR. “Last year, many countries signed on to a commitment to end sexual violence in conflict. And groups like Physicians for Human Rights are training local doctors in war zones how to take evidence of sexual violence for later use in trials.”


The UK government website has the summit program. NPR reports on the sexual violence summit online.

Researchers and students working on issues of gender and violence in history and society will be interested in this summit’s findings.


Posted in Atrocities, Civil Conflict, Civilians and Refugees in War, Gender and Warfare, History of Violence, Human Rights, Laws of War, War, Culture, and Society, Women and Gender History | 1 Comment

Sikh Clash at the Golden Temple


Sikh Clash at the Golden Temple

Originally posted on Center for the Study of Religious Violence:

Swords crossed at the Golden Temple in Amristar, India, as Sikh activists and guards clashed during a commemoration of the Indian Army assault on the site in the 1984.


“The violence broke out after a group of ‘radical Sikh activists’ wanted to brandish their swords and chant slogans calling for a separate Sikh homeland, or Khalistan,” according to a NPR article, based on reporting by the Times of India.

The 1984 assault on the holiest Sikh religious site provoked retaliatory attacks by Sikhs, including the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

NPR reports on the violence at the Golden Temple.

View original

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A Sequel to Restrepo

A sequel (of a sort) to Restrepo, the 2010 documentary film by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington about combat at a firebase in Afghanistan, is being released.

The new documentary, Korengal, by Sebastian Junger attempts to contextualize the broader conflict in Afghanistan using interviews and unused footage from the earlier documentary film. Photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in the Libyan Civil War, but his footage is used in the new film.

The new film and the original documentary together provide interesting material on 21st-century combat, soldiers’ experiences of warfare, and war reporting.

NPR reports on Korengal.

Northern Illinois University students in HIST 390 History and Film: War in Film may be interested in this story.

Posted in Historical Film, History in the Media, History of Violence, War in Film, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Oral History Researcher Position

The HistoryMakers seeks to hire a full time Oral History Researcher to complete in-depth research for its video oral history interviews across a wide variety of occupations and fields (i.e. STEM, law, art, education, music, etc.). The researcher/writer will be responsible for:

• Conducting background research on outstanding African Americans to locate their contact information and biographical information prior to interviews using the Internet and online resources.

• Researching and preparing detailed research outlines as well as long and short biographies in accordance with The HistoryMakers style.

• Evaluating and processing The HistoryMakers interviews consistent with The HistoryMakers standards

Candidates must have strong administrative(type 60 wpm) and organizational skills. They must be strong researchers, writers and adept at proofreading. Prior experience with detailed paper file and desktop management is critical as well as proven experience in a non-profit setting. Candidates must also demonstrate their interest in furthering The HistoryMakers mission and growth

The HistoryMakers is a national 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating an unprecedented national video oral history archival institution recording the stories of both well known and unsung African American HistoryMakers. The goal is to record at least 5000 oral history interviews and to expose this material to the public through strategic media, technology, academic and community partnerships.

The HistoryMakers

c/o Julieanna Richardson

1900 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616


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Marc Bloch Prize

The Marc Bloch Prize for 2015 will be awarded to the author of the best new MA thesis in early modern or modern European history and in the history of Europe in the world.


The winner will receive a prize of €3,000 and will be invited to give a talk on the subject of his or her thesis. Eligibility is limited to candidates holding an MA degree (awarded in 2013 or 2014) and EUI members are not eligible. Entries for the prize must be submitted by the original author, and can be submitted in any European language.

For more information see:

Posted in Careers in History, Early Modern Europe, European History, French History, Graduate Work in History, Grants and Fellowships | Leave a comment

New Evidence on Mediterranean Diets

Mediterranean diets are routinely cited as especially healthy by culinary and health enthusiasts. Scientific evidence to support such claims has gradually been accumulating, although often supporting on certain components of Mediterranean foods. Indeed, definitions of a “Mediterranean diet” vary widely.

Nonetheless, recent research on olive oil and its use with vegetables and leafy greens offers strong evidence of the health benefits of certain aspects of Mediterranean diets.

The BBC reports that “The combination of olive oil and leafy salad or vegetables is what gives the Mediterranean diet its healthy edge, say scientists. When these two food groups come together they form nitro fatty acids which lower blood pressure, they told PNAS journal.”

The scientists at King’s College London and the University of California who conducted the study argue that “it is the fusion of the diet’s ingredients that make nitro fatty acids,” according to the BBC.

In their study, which received funding from the British Heart Foundation, “the researchers used genetically engineered mice to see what impact nitro fatty acids had on the body. Nitro fatty acids helped lower blood pressure by blocking an enzyme called epoxide hydrolase.”

The BBC reports on Mediterranean diets.

Posted in Food and Cuisine History, Languedoc and Southern France, Mediterranean World | Leave a comment