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Civilians at Stake: Mass Violence in Asia and Europe from 1931 to the Present



16 Déc.   |   17 Déc.   |   18 Déc.


In partnership with the Asia-Pacific Journal, the CERI-CNRS-Sciences Po and the Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po. With the support of the French Ministry of Defense (DMPA, IRSEM), the Région Ile-de-France, the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.

On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence has organized an international meeting consisting of a public roundtable followed by a scholarly conference. The papers presented at the conference will be published on the Encyclopedia’s website.

Opening session

16th December, 16 h

Welcome address : Frédéric Mion, Director General of Sciences Po
Opening remarks : Claire Andrieu, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po

Roundtable on The Bridge on the River Kwai

With projection of film excerpts

A roundtable discussion led by historians Carol Gluck, Columbia University, and Michiko Nakahara, Waseda University.

17th December

The Bombing of Civilians Policy and Practice in Comparative Perspective

Convenors: C. Andrieu (Sciences Po), A. Colonomos (Sciences Po), E.Maïlander (Sciences Po)

This meeting brings together historians, political scientists, and philosophers. The aim is to analyze the evolution of the policies and practices of civilian bombing practices as well as of the international standards regarding them. Political scientists and philosophers will question international humanitarian law and the ethical dilemmas raised by aerial bombings. Historians will provide case studies that offer new perspectives and highlight the diversity and changes in historical approaches to the ongoing debate.

International law has long evinced interest in standards to apply to the use of aerial bombing. This debate has intensified since the 1990s, particularly among philosophers and political scientists. Several issues have emerged. Are the rules of proportionality and distinction better applied today than in the past? What is a practical definition of proportionality in current conflicts? Does technological progress in accuracy of targeting reflects a moral criterion or is it rather the result of tactical efficiency?

The historical approaches will provide both a retrospective and comparative view. The goal is to examine the evolution of analysis over the past seventy years and to highlight the shift of the debate in the social sciences across the international contexts of postwar, cold war, and post-cold war as well as in the various national political contexts since 1945.
National experiences of bombing have shaped the different historical accounts in legal analyses and in the international order. For instance, the United States, which most consistently resorted to heavy bombardment (not only during World War II but also subsequently in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya), is also the country in which historians seem seldom to agree, at least in the 1995 controversy around the Enola Gay exhibition. In contrast, France has remained until recently relatively uninterested in examining: the history of German and Allied bombings of the country. The situation is changing, however, as scholars begin to apply the compassionate approach developed in the cases of German and Japanese civilians to the French case. These differences in national histories and historiographies of civilian bombing are one focus of this conference.


Alain Dieckhoff, Director of the CERI, Sciences Po


Karoline Postel-Vinay, CERI-Sciences Po, “History and diplomacy. The 70th anniversary in East Asia »

> Panel One: Policies of Civilian Bombing

Moderator : Maja Spanu, European University Institute

1. Neta Crawford, Boston University, "US beliefs about the Effectiveness and Morality of Strategic Bombing "
2. Robert Pape, University of Chicago, “Why Civilians are Still Vulnerable in the Precision Age.”

Discussant : Ariel Colonomos, CERI/CNRS/Sciences Po

> Panel Two: Civilian Bombing and Legacies of WWII

Moderator : Constance Sereni, Université de Genève

3. Jérôme de Lespinois, Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM), French Ministry of Defense, “The Aerial Strategic Offensive: Doctrine and Practices, 1930s to 1945”
4. Marine Guillaume, CERI-Sciences Po /Columbia University, “The Impact of Napalm on US Strategic Bombing Doctrine and Practice, 1942-1975”
5. Matthew Evangelista, Cornell University, “Blockbusters, nukes, and drones: trajectories of change over a century”

Discussant : Mark Selden, Asia-Pacific Journal

> Panel Three: Civilian Bombings in National History and Memory

Moderator : Pierre Journoud, Université de Montpellier

6. Bas von Benda-Beckmann, University of Amsterdam: “Two German Historical Perspectives: the Allied Bombardments of Germany and Luftwaffe Bombardments of the West”
7. Yuki Tanaka, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University: “Juxtaposing the Atomic Bombing and Japanese War Atrocities”
8. Andrew Knapp, Reading University: “The Horror and the Glory: Bomber Command in British Memories since 1945”

Discussant : Claire Andrieu, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po

> Panel Four: World War II Bombings in Comparative Perspective

Moderator : Karoline Postel-Vinay, CERI/Sciences Po

9. Sheldon Garon, Princeton University: “Defending Civilians against Aerial Bombardment: A Transnational History of Japanese, German, and British Home Fronts, 1918-1945”
10. Mark Selden, Cornell University: “Comparative Reflections on Japanese and American Bombings in the Pacific”
11. Jennifer Evans, Carleton University : “Searching for Normality in Abnormal times in Pre-and Post-1945 Berlin”

Discussant : Mario del Pero, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po

18th December

Local resistance to Mass Violence in Asia and Europe

Convenors: C. Andrieu (Sciences Po), A. Colonomos (Sciences Po), E.Maïlander (Sciences Po)

Comparisons between European and Asian patterns of war and violence can contribute to new understandings of these issues. With Japan’s empire as its focus, the conference seeks to develop analytical methodologies and comparative approaches to local, grassroots resistance to mass violence.

In contrast to the voluminous literature on resistance in France and Italy and on Chinese military resistance to the Japanese invasion, there is relatively little scholarly work on local resistance to wartime occupation in Asia. Will the understanding of resistance in occupied Europe also apply to Asia under Japanese domination? And how did the experience differ in colonized nations like Indochina and sovereign nations like China?

The task is also to investigate possible patterns of resistance. Although by now the study of those who stood against genocide is well established, civil opposition to other types of mass violence is less well treated.. A study of civil opposition to mass violence may help to identify patterns of unarmed civil resistance and provoke more research to local resistance even under brutal wartime occupation regimes.

> Panel Five: Local Resistance to Mass Violence as a Topic of Research

Moderator : Jean-Marc Dreyfus, University of Manchester

1. Claire Andrieu, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po, “Constructing and Rebuilding an Archetype: from 1940 to the Present”
2. Joachim Scholtyseck, University of Bonn: “John Rabe: Nankin-Berlin 1937-1945, from Rescue to Inaction.”

Discussant : Elissa Mailander, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po

> Panel Six: Local Resistance to Mass Violence in Sovereign Nations

Moderator : Michael Lucken, INALCO, Paris

3. Arnaud Doglia, University of Cambridge: “Resistance in Japan, 1931-1945”
4. Rana Mitter, Oxford University: "Refugee Flight, Collaboration and Resistance to Japanese Occupation in the Initial Phase of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-38"
5. Masha Cerovic, Centre d’études franco-russes de Moscou: “The People’s War: Insurgency and Civil War in the Occupied Territories of the Soviet Union, 1941-1944”

Discussant : Sheldon Garon, Princeton University

> Panel Seven: Local Resistance to Mass violence in Colonial Asia

Moderator : Alain Delissen, EHESS, Paris

6. Celine Marangé, Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM), French Ministry of Defense: “Vietnamese communists and the Japanese occupation of Indochina, 1940-1945”
7. Remco Raben, University of Amsterdam / Utrecht University: Local/ Indonesian resistance to Japanese Occupation in the East Indies.
8. Michiko Nakahara, Waseda University, “Reclaiming agency: the 'comfort women' and feminist activism”.

Discussant : Yuki Tanaka, Hiroshima Peace Institute


Moderator : Riva Kastoryano, CERI/CNRS/Sciences Po

Claire Andrieu, Centre d’histoire, Sciences Po / Ariel Colonomos, CERI/CNRS Sciences Po / Neta Crawford, Boston University/ Carol Gluck, Columbia University / Yuki Tanaka, Hiroshima Peace Institute


Scientific Committee:
Claire Andrieu, Ariel Colonomos, Mario Del Pero, Arnaud Doglia, Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Carol Gluck, Riva Kastoryano, Elissa Mailänder, Karoline Postel-Vinay, Mark Selden


Claire Andrieu, Bas von Benda-Beckman, Masha Cerovic, Ariel Colonomos, Neta Crawford, Mario Del Pero, Alain Delissen, Alain Dieckhoff, Arnaud Doglia, Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Matthew Evangelista, Jennifer Evans, Sheldon Garon, Carol Gluck, Marine Guillaume, Pierre Journoud, Riva Kastoryano, Andrew Knapp, Jérôme de Lespinois, Michael Lucken, Elissa Mailänder, Céline Marangé, Rana Mitter, Michiko Nakahara, Robert Pape, Karoline Postel-Vinay, Remco Raben, Joachim Scholtyseck, Mark Selden, Constance Sereni, Maja Spanu, Yuki Tanaka

Document(s) à télécharger