Drs König and Wiater have been successful in securing three significant grants (from the St Andrews Restarting Research Fund, the St Andrews Restarting Interdisciplinary Research Fund, and the University of St Andrews Knowledge Exchange & Impact fund), which will scale up the interdisciplinary and outreach work of their joint research project, Visualising War.
Bringing together Humanities and Social Science researchers, ‘Visualising War’ explores the ways in which battle narratives in different media (text, art, film, etc) have influenced each other across space and time, shaping wider cultural discourses. The research team is particularly interested in the feedback-loop between narrative and reality, whereby war stories not only reflect but also affect how people think, feel and behave in military contexts. This research has important real-world applications: in studying past and present war stories, the project aims to raise awareness of the powerful ideologies which they generate over time, which influence people directly but can also be purposefully leveraged by those in positions of social or political power. It also aims to build capacity in individuals and groups to harness narratives of war to help prevent or mitigate against the effects of future conflict.
Their new funding is enabling Drs König and Wiater to grow their interdisciplinary team of researchers and expand their outreach work. The project already involves staff in Art History, Classics, Film Studies, History, International Relations and Psychology, and they have now appointed a new Postdoctoral Research Assistant (Dr Katarina Birkedal) to facilitate conversations and cross-fertilisations between these different Humanities and Social Science disciplines and build towards some joint publications. Working alongside their PDRA will be two new Postgraduate Research Assistants, whose focus will be the development of a Visualising War podcast series. This series will interview a range of academic and non-academic experts to develop public understanding of what war stories do and how they shape individuals’ and groups’ experiences of and conduct in war. The funding will also support a collaboration with professional theatre company NMT Automatics, who have developed a new play (‘Tempus Fugit: Troy and Us’) based around one of the oldest war stories on record, Homer’s Iliad. Through a series of public workshops involving performances and discussions of this play, the research team will conduct new research into the impact which historic battle narratives continue to have on modern habits of visualising war.
Alongside this, König, Wiater and their team are developing some new interdisciplinary teaching on Visualising War and (with the help of a third PGRA) completing their first major publication, an edited volume entitled Visualising War: Interplay between Battle Narratives across Antiquity.