As a researcher at In Flanders Fields Museum I dedicated much time in the past fifteen years to the presence of colonial troops on the western front. Now I took a year leave to finalize a PhD under the working title: “Subaltern Experiences in the First World War”.
Rather than focusing on one particular ethnic group, this research aims at presenting a worldwide comparative overview of similarities (and differences) in the motivations of minority leaders in all five continents to join the war effort, how the war experience affected their supporters and how this in return influenced post-war politics at home. In order to do so three case studies will be developed, all within the British context and all having been present on the Western Front: the Indian Army Corps, the Chinese Labour Corps and the British West Indies Regiment. I will explore what were the consequences, both short- and long-term, both on the individual and on a collective level, of these engagements, in several domains of human activity.
This PhD is a co-tutelle with the University of Kent (Canterbury) but with the Universiteit Antwerpen as the lead institution.
The supervisors are Prof. dr. Marnix Beyen (UA) and Prof. Mark Connelly (University of Kent)