From Achilles to Afghanistan: historic war stories and modern conflict

Join us for two interactive online conversations exploring how historic war stories influence our understanding of conflict in the modern world.

Conversation 1 (for military personnel/veterans/the wider military community): Wednesday 6th October, 12-2pm Sign up here.

Conversation 2 (for civilians): Thursday 7th October, 12-2pm Sign up here.

Have you ever been moved, fascinated, horrified or inspired by a war story from the past? If so, please come and share your thoughts with us in one of our online conversations!

Our research team is exploring how narratives of past conflicts influence how we imagine, understand, debate and even conduct war in the present. War stories come in many different forms: children’s books, epic poems, films, documentaries, news reports, personal anecdotes, political speeches and state commemorations, to name just a few. We have all heard tales of past heroism, self-sacrifice, triumph and loss – but what do these historic stories do to us, and how do they affect the ways we ‘visualise’ modern conflicts?

During these online conversations you will have the chance, if you wish, to share your own experiences. Together, we will look at some influential war stories from the past, exploring the different impacts they have had on individuals and communities – and above all, how they strike you.

We will be joined by professional theatre company NMT Automatics, who will show us some excerpts of their new play ‘Tempus Fugit: Troy and Us’, which combines an Ancient Greek war story (from Homer’s Iliad) with the tale of a modern military couple impacted by a 21st-century conflict. Their play raises some really fascinating questions about our habits of visualising war, and how archetypes and stories from the past can shape those habits, as well as helping us understand what we experiencing today. They will also get us thinking about how modern experiences of conflict might influence the ways we understand and retell past war stories.

At the end of the session, we will try coming up with some alternative endings to a historic war story as we think about the different influences it has previously had and the influence could go on to have in future. This might spark some conversation about how we narrate and visualise conflict resolution and the aftermath of war.

Your input into these conversations will help to shape our wider study of how past stories influence present and future conflict.

To sign up, please follow this link. For more information, please email viswar@st-andrews.ac.uk.