Churches and War in Central Europe workshop

Andrew Eccles
Thursday 11 March 2021

Churches and War in Central Europe, C.17th – C.21st

Dates and location: 28th-29th June 2020, ONLINE
Name of organiser: Bridget Heal (St Andrews) and Tom Brodie (Birmingham)

This workshop will bring together scholars of German and Central European history to discuss the use and abuse of church buildings during times of war as well as their post-war restoration and reconstruction. Scholars writing about the history of war and its aftermath have tended to focus, understandably, on the loss of life and the human suffering it caused. But the fate of architecture and material culture is also a central part of the story. The papers at this conference will use ecclesiastical buildings, and the discourses that surrounded them, to access experiences of destruction and suffering and to highlight the importance of religion for the survival and recovery of individuals and communities. The workshop’s chronological scope will be broad, ranging from the Thirty Years War via the Napoleonic Wars to World War Two. The discussion will be interdisciplinary, drawing extensively on art and architectural history, and on material culture as well as on textual sources. Speakers will consider issues such as:

  •     the ideological struggles that shaped seemingly prosaic decisions about the financing and control of the reconstruction of ecclesiastical buildings
  •     the interplay of local and regional or national interests
  •     the importance of the aesthetic choices made during restoration and reconstruction
  •     the symbolic significance of rebuilding projects for particular confessional (and other) communities.

Confirmed speakers: Emily Fisher Gray, Bridget Heal, Michael Rose, Jim Bjork, Tom Brodie, Paul Betts.