Digital trenches


I’ve mentioned the opening skirmishes for the centenary of the First World War before, and recommended europeana‘s curated website devoted to untold stories and official histories of World War I.  I’ve since also become entranced by the extraordinarily rich website developed by the University of Oxford:

World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings is building a substantial collection of learning resources available for global reuse. A rich variety of materials, including expert articles, audio and video lectures, downloadable images, interactive maps and ebooks are available under a set of cross-disciplinary themes that seek to reappraise the War in its cultural, social, geographical and historical contexts. Many of these resources have been specially created by the University of Oxford and partner academics for this website.

It’s an Open Educational Resource, so that everything is released under an open content/commons licence.

The site is organised around a series of themes, including Body and Mind (read the brilliant Santanu Das on ‘The Dying Kiss‘, revised and extracted from his Touch and intimacy in First World War literature: ‘It is a great irony that the world’s first industrial war, which brutalized the male body on such an unprecedented scale, also nurtured the most intense and intimate of male bonds’) and Machine (for those of us interested in the administration of military violence, in the double sense of that term, Christopher Phillips has an insightful vignette about General Haig: ‘Far from being a ‘donkey’, he was the centralizing force responsible for overseeing the entire ‘business’ on the Western Front…. the ‘General Manager of War’’.)

And there is also a section entitled ‘From Space to Place‘ that includes Das again on ‘slimescapes’ (which is what triggered my work on ‘The natures of war’, soon to be completed for Antipode) and Matt Leonard on the war underground.

Many of the contributions come from PhD students, which gives the whole project a remarkable freshness.