The myriad faces of war: 1917 and its legacy

An international, multidisciplinary symposium in New Zealand organised by:

  • WHAM (War History Heritage Art and Memory) Research Network
  • Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira
  • The University of Auckland Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau
  • Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage

With generous support from:
British High Commission
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Militähistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Embassy of the United States of America
New Zealand India Research Institute
Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium
New Zealand High Commission Canberra
Australian High Commission Wellington
Monash University

Abstract submission has closed

Registration is now open

Museum of New Zealand
Te Papa Tongarewa,
Wellington, New Zealand
25-28 April 2017

Symposium times
Tuesday 25 April 2017
Registration opens 4.00pm
Symposium commences 6.00pm

Wednesday 26th to Friday 28th
Symposium commences 9.00am and closes 5.30pm

The myriad faces of war: 1917 and its legacy

1917 was a seminal year in the history of the modern world. The First World War stressed the livelihoods and resources of nations, states and societies - combatant and otherwise - with often direct and devastating impact. Key events influenced the outcome of the war or were in some way set in motion by the emotion and disruptive thinking that accompanied the cataclysmic experiences of 1917. Their legacies continue to be felt today in political, economic, social, cultural, scientific, and technological spheres.

The Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy symposium examines this single year, 1917, and expands outwards to reflect on the significant impact of the Great War and associated events, and the way in which particular actions contributed to a reordering of global structures that have reverberated through the intervening century to the present.

In 1917 the conflict's global reach expanded as United States, China, Brazil, and others joined the Allied side. On the battlefield combatants experienced exhilarating triumphs and devastating losses from Passchendaele to Cambrai on the Western Front, at Caporetto on the Austro-Italian Front, and Beersheba and Ramadi in the Middle East.

Post-war political and social changes were signalled with the imminent collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, and Russia - in the midst of revolution - withdrew from the war. The Balfour Declaration pledged Britain's support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine; suffragettes in Washington were arrested as they picketed the White House; and conscientious objectors from New Zealand were shipped to the Western Front in an attempt to force them to join the war effort. United States and Japan signed the Lansing-Ishii Agreement, which acknowledged that the latter had "special interests" in China. Within the British Empire, the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission was established to build cemeteries and memorials for the commemoration of the war dead, and the Imperial War Museum was founded to record both military and civilian experiences and to honour the sacrifices of war. In cultural life, Marcel Duchamp redefined art with the Fountain urinal; De Stijl was formed in the Netherlands; the art and literature review Dada was published in Zurich; and soldier poet, Wilfred Owen wrote Anthem for Doomed Youth. In medicine, Queen's Hospital (later to become Queen Mary's Hospital) opened, and there Harold Gillies and his colleagues developed many techniques of plastic surgery, operating mostly on soldiers with facial injuries.

The narrative of 1917 and its legacy is characterised by a multitude of perspectives, practices, cultures, histories, locations, and expressions. The symposium will draw together many of these diverse facets of the war into a shared conceptual space.

The symposium has drawn together leading international scholars including:

Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis (The University of Auckland)
Professor Annette Becker (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)
Piet Chielens (In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres)
Professor Glyn Harper (Massey University)
Professor Michael Neiberg (U.S. Army War College)
Dr Catriona Pennell (University of Exeter)
Dr Jock Phillips
Dr Gorch Pieken (Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr)
Dr Galina Rylkova (University of Florida)
Dr Monty Soutar (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tai) (Ministry for Culture and Heritage)
Professor Peter Stanley (University of New South Wales)
Professor Jay Winter (Yale University)

Due to illness Professor Winter is unable to attend the symposium. His keynote address will be read by Professor Raelene Frances, FASSA, Professor of History and Dean of Arts, Monash University, Australia.

Speaker Profiles

Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

Maartje Abbenhuis is Associate Professor in Modern European History at The University of Auckland. She specialises in the history of war, neutrality and internationalism, with a specific focus on the 1815 - 1918 period. She has published widely on the history of neutrality, including of the Netherlands in the First World War. Among other things, she is currently working on an overview history of the war entitled Global War, Global Catastrophe: Neutrals, Belligerents and the Transformation of the First World War, 1914 - 1918 (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

Professor Annette Becker

Dr Annette Becker

Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, is one of France's leading social and cultural historians of the First World War, Professor of Contemporary History at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. Annette Becker has written extensively on the Two World Wars and the extreme violence they nurture, with an emphasis on military occupations and the two genocides, against the Armenians and the Holocaust. She has devoted research to humanitarian politics, trauma and memories, particularly among intellectuals and artists.

Piet Chielens

Piet Chielens

Director of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres (Belgium). From 1992 to 2007 he was artistic director of Peaceconcerts Passendale which created annually international concerts about the shared heritage of WW1. Since 1996 he has been general co-ordinator of IFFM, which was redeveloped in 2012 to international acclaim. With the small team of the museum he is looking for a constant renewal of the memory of the Great War in Flanders. Special attention is given to the ways in which micro (personal, family) and macro (cultures, nations, the world) history can be linked. As an institute with a large historical collection and specialized knowledge, the IFFM also sees an important role for artistic interpretations of our attitudes and concerns about war and peace.

Professor Glyn Harper

Dr Santanu Das

Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North. He is Massey's Team Leader for the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War project and is wrote one of the first volumes. A former teacher, he joined the Australian Army in 1988 and after eight years transferred to the New Zealand Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Glyn was the army's official historian for the deployment to East Timor and is the author of fourteen books for adults. These include Kippenberger: An Inspired New Zealand Commander; In the Face of the Enemy: The complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand; Dark Journey: Three Key Battles of the Western Front; Images of War: World War One: A Photographic Record of New Zealanders at War 1914-1918, Letters from Gallipoli: New Zealand Soldiers Write Home, The Battles of Monte Cassino. The campaign and its controversies and his most recent being Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand soldier in the First World War 1914-18. Glyn also enjoys writing books for children. Some of his children's books include The Donkey Man, My Grandfather's War and Le Quesnoy. The Town New Zealand Saved. Glyn's latest book for children, Gladys goes to War, was released in March 2016.

Professor Michael Neiberg

Dr Michael S. Neiberg

Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. He has also taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Southern Mississippi. With backgrounds in social history, military history, French history, and American history, Neiberg has published widely on the theme of war in the world, especially in the era of the two world wars. His most recent books are Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (2011) and The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944 (2012).

Dr Catriona Pennell

Dr Jock Phillips

Catriona Pennell is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Exeter, UK. She specialises in the history of 19th and 20th century Britain and Ireland with a particular focus on the relationship between war, experience, and memory. Recent research projects have examined these issues firstly, from the perspectives of two Irish divisions on the Somme in 1916 and 1918 (funded by the British Academy) and secondly, by an interdisciplinary analysis of the ways the First World War is taught in secondary schools in England (funded by the AHRC). She is currently the Academic Lead on a collaborative project with the Institute of Education, investigating pupil responses to the UK government-funded FWW Battlefield Centenary Tours Programme between 2015 and 2019. Her publications include A Kingdom United: Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland (OUP, 2012; 2014), 'Presenting the War in Ireland, 1914-1918', in Troy R.E. Paddock (ed.) World War I and Propaganda (Brill, 2014), and 'Learning Lessons from War? Inclusions and Exclusions in Teaching First World War History in English Secondary Schools', History and Memory, 28:1 (2016), pp. 36-71.

Dr Jock Phillips

Dr Jock Phillips

Dr Jock Phillips is a public historian based in Wellington. He completed his PhD at Harvard University and taught American and New Zealand history at Victoria University of Wellington (1973 to 1989) where he established the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies. He was the country's Chief Historian for 14 years (1989-2002) overseeing major historical projects such as the New Zealand Historical Atlas. He was a Conceptual Leader at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and initiated the position of and became General Editor, Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand (2002-2011), and then Senior Editor in charge of the content (2011-14). He has published extensively on various aspects of New Zealand's history including New Zealand's involvement in World War I.

Dr Gorch Pieken

Dr Gorch Pieken

Studied history, art history, and Dutch philology in Cologne. From 1995 to 2005 he was curator and head of the multimedia department in the German Historical Museum, Berlin. In this position he was responsible for all electronic media for the permanent and all temporary exhibitions of the German Historical Museum. In that time, he also worked as author and producer of several documentary films for German and French television. In 2006 Gorch Pieken became project director of the new permanent exhibition of the Militārhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Military History Museum of the Armed Forces). In 2010 he became Academic Director and Director of Exhibitions, Collections and Research in the Military History Museum.

Dr Galina Rylkova

Galina Rylkova

Associate Professor of Russian/Slavic Studies at the University of Florida. She was born in Moscow, Russia, and received her M.A. in Romance-Germanic languages and literatures from Moscow State University. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Toronto in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her teaching and research have been focused on Russian and European Modernism; Anton Chekhov; Memory and Cultural Studies. She has published articles on a wide range of topics, including cultural memory about the Russian Silver Age, and the writings of Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Pil'niak, and Pasternak. She is the author of The Archaeology of Anxiety: The Russian Silver Age and Its Legacy, (University of Pittsburgh Press) in which she discusses how Russian writers, intellectuals and the public at large coped with the existential anxieties unleashed by the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinist Terror, Khrushchev's Thaw and Gorbachev's perestroika in 20th-century Russia.

Dr Monty Soutar

Galina Rylkova

Dr Monty Soutar, ONZM (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tai), is a historian with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and World War One Historian-in-Residence at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. He specialises in Maori history. He has worked widely with iwi and Maori communities as demonstrated by his book Nga Tama Toa (Bateman, 2008), which told the story of the 28th Maori Battalion in the Second World War through letters, diaries and oral testimonies from over a hundred veterans and their wives. Next year he will publish Whitiki, another major work about Maori in the Great War. Currently, he is leading a digital project on Treaty of Waitangi Settlements in New Zealand. He has been a teacher, soldier and lecturer and has held a number of appointments on national advisory boards, including the First World War Centenary Panel and the Waitangi Tribunal.

Professor Peter Stanley

Dr Peter Stanley

Research Professor at the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, University of New South Wales is a leading and forthright Australian military-social historian. He was Head of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia from 2007-13. Between 1980 and 2007 he was an historian and curator at the Australian War Memorial, including as head of the Historical Research Section and Principal Historian from 1987. He has written several books about Australia and the Great War since 2005 (Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, Men of Mont St Quentin, Bad Characters and Digger Smith and Australia's Great War, with others in train). Peter Stanley was the recipient of the Prime Minister's Prize for Australian history in 2011.

Professor Jay Winter

Dr Jay Winter

The Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale, is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century. His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915. He is co-director of the project on Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919, which has produced two volumes, the first on social and economic history, published by Cambridge University in 1997, and the second published by Cambridge in 2007. Jay Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997. He was the editor of The Cambridge History of the First World War (3 volumes, 2014).

Due to illness Professor Winter is unable to attend the symposium. His keynote address will be read by Professor Raelene Frances, FASSA, Professor of History and Dean of Arts, Monash University, Australia.

Registration for the Symposium is now open

Register now

WHAM (War History Heritage Art and Memory) Research Network

WHAM is an international research network and community developed to facilitate multidisciplinary "dialogue" on war and peace at the intersection of history, heritage, art, and memory. The other Myriad Faces organising partners are members of WHAM or are represented on the WHAM Board. Leading war and military museums are also WHAM members and speakers from some of these institutions will be represented at Myriad Faces.

Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa

For more than 80 years, Massey University has helped shape the lives and communities of people in New Zealand and around the world. Its forward-thinking spirit, research-led teaching, and cutting-edge discoveries make Massey New Zealand's defining university.

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Auckland War Memorial Museum is New Zealand's first Museum. The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand's top three heritage libraries. It has pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.

The University of Auckland Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau

Founded in 1883, Auckland is the country's largest university with over 40,000 students, nearly 10,000 of whom graduate annually. The main campus is in the heart of Auckland city and is complemented by four specialist campuses.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage works to enrich the lives of all New Zealanders by supporting our dynamic culture and preserving our heritage. We support many of New Zealand's arts, media, heritage and sports organisations; advise government on cultural matters and provide research and resources for everyone to access. The organisations we fund deliver a wide range of cultural experiences for all to enjoy.

The symposium is being supported by:

  • British High Commission
  • Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Bundeswehr
  • Militähistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Embassy of the United States of America
  • New Zealand India Research Institute
  • Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium
  • New Zealand High Commission Canberra
  • Australian High Commission Wellington
  • Monash University

supported by logos

Symposium Organising Committee

  • Kingsley Baird (Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa) - Chair, Organising Committee
  • Euan Robertson (Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa) - Chair, Promotions Sub-Committee
  • Glyn Harper (Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa)
  • David Reeves (Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira)
  • Gail Romano (Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira) - Chair, Programme Sub-Committee
  • Maartje Abbenhuis (The University of Auckland Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau) - Chair, Abstract Sub-Committee; Chair, Publication Sub-Committee
  • Neill Atkinson (Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage)
  • Tessa Lyons (Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa) - Budget Committee; Chair, Opening Event Sub-Committee
  • Linda Baxter (Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa) - Project Manager; Venue Relations
  • Catherine Foley - Events and Promotion Administrator
  • Rebecca Johns - Event Liaison

Further opportunities to hear more from three of our Keynote Speakers

Professor Michael Neiberg

(i) Professor Neiberg is giving a public lecture (all welcome)
'The Liberation of Paris 1944'
Date: 29th April
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: Palmerston North Public Library
Organised by Palmerston North Public Library and Alliance Français

Professor Annette Becker

(i) Professor Becker Is giving a Master Class for Auckland university graduate students entitled:
'War, Trauma and Memory'
Date: Thursday 4th May
Time: 1 - 3pm
(interested students should contact) Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

(ii) Public Lecture
Professor Becker is giving a public lecture (all welcome)
'Toward total war: civilians in the Great War 1914 - 1918'
Date: Friday, 5th May
Time: 4:30 - 6pm
Venue: (Room to be advised)
For further information contact Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

Dr Gorch Pieken

(i) Te Papa 2017 ANZAC Commemoration Programme
'Discussing Difficult Histories'
A workshop with Gorch Pieken and Michael Harcourt @ Te Papa
Date: Monday, 24th April
Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Venue: National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Bookings are now available through the Te Papa website

The event is open to the public, but is possibly more relevant to teachers, university students in relevant areas of study and older school students who are considering pursuing a teaching career or a career in the social sciences.
Students with ID are free and adults are $10 for adults. There will be refreshments during the workshop.
For further information contact Stephen Moorhouse, Public Programmes Specialist I Learning Innovation
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
55 Cable Street, PO Box 467, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand
Ph. (+64) 4 381 7143

(ii) Auckland War Memorial Museum
'The Forgotten Break in History: WWI and the year 1917 in German commemorative culture'
Date: Tuesday, 2nd May
Time: 3pm
Venue: Events Centre
Ticket Price:
Adults $10.00
Students and Institute Members: $5.00
Bookings recommended at ticket desks, +64 9 306 7048 or A booking fee of $3 applies to each offsite transaction. Door sales subject to availability.
For further information contact

Introduction page image credits: Colonial trumpet players, Smoking German Troops and Old Lady and cow - 'The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (; © [Copyright notice]; Women in factory - © Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Gassed Soldiers - Imperial War Museum, © Crown Copyright. IWM; Poster and family image - © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.


Please note that you are required to arrange your own accommodation.


For information on accommodation options in Wellington, we suggest the following website:

Local Hotels within walking distance of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa:

Motels within walking distance:


Wellington has a vast array of cafés, restaurants, bars and eateries that cater for all tastes and budgets. Explore the city if you prefer to do some homework before setting out or we suggest the following web site:

We have noted a couple of vegetarian and vegan eateries for those with these specific dietary requirements.

Vegetarian and Vegan:

  • Pranah Café, 120 Riddiford Street, Wellington.
  • Aunty Mena Vegetarian café, 167 Cuba Street, Wellington.