The Continuation of Politics with Other Means: War and Protest, 1914−2011 (COPWOM)

This project is sponsored by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship and hosted by the Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-Universität Bochum. The project extends from 2017-2019 and details of the public and scholarly events linked to COPWOM are to be found on this site as the funded period unfolds. Please feel free to contact me with any enquiries relating to the project at:

Project team

Press release

Project description

This project looks at the political means employed by those who, for various reasons, resorted to protest during times of war in the period from the First World War to the Iraq War. In most cases, the challengers embraced alternative means of political articulation due to the established channels of political decision making being controlled by the supporters of the war in question. Case studies illuminate the manifestations of war-time protest in different wars including both the well-known and some of the “forgotten wars”: First World War, Spanish Civil War, Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Soviet War in Afghanistan, Falklands War, Kosovo War and Iraq War. The project pursues the objective to articulate the relationship between war and protest and to develop further the debate surrounding war as a channel of cultural, social and political change. It will advance research into the comparative dimension of war-time protest by embedding this investigation in an analytical framework focused on the methods and questions of historical enquiry into social movements, and to give further specificity to the debate on processes of politicisation and depoliticisation with particular focus on the variety of motivations that drove war-time protest beyond just pacifism. This analysis combines methods from the history of protest and social movements, the history of war, the history of political thought as well as film and visual studies. The project provides conceptual tools and evidence on the pre-history of present-day protests, e.g. against U.S. unilateralism in Iraq. Via a number of publications and engagement events, especially in conjunction with public film screenings, it will create impact by intervening in current debates about the repercussions of global warfare and by furthering public awareness of the crucial historical role of war-time protest in the European political heritage.


Project-linked events:

March 2019

February 2019

  • archival research at International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

January 2019

  • archival research at Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv, Zürich

December 2018

  • 05.12.2018, 18.00 Uhr: Filmreihe "Krieg und Protest": Kurzfilme von Santiago Álvarez - Kuba und Vietnam, Endstation Kino im Bahnhof Langendreer

November 2018

  • 07.11.2018, 18.00 Uhr: Filmreihe "Krieg und Protest". Kurzfilme des Newreel-Kollektivs - Protest in den USA und die Realität des Krieges in Vietnam, Endstation Kino in Langendreer

October 2018:

  • 26.10.2018, 16.15 Uhr: "Die Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln: Krieg, Protest, Kalter Krieg". Kolloquium der Geschichte des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts, Universität Bielefeld
  • 24.10.2018, 18.00 Uhr: Filmreihe "Krieg und Protest: Vietnam auf Schauplätzen Westberlins - Shortfilms by Harun Farocki, Endstation Kino im Bahnhof Langendreer (page 4)
  • 19./20.10.2018: Retrospektive "Krieg und Protest. Eingreifende Filme im Zeitalter des Vietnamkriegs", Unabhängiges Filmfest Osnabrück (page 88-91)

June 2018:

  • 5. Bochumer Disput "Ohnmacht - humanitäre Hilfe - Protest"                                                                    Organisation: Alexander Sedlmaier und Sabrina Zajak

May 2018:

  • 28.5.: Alexander Sedlmaier, “The Continuation of Politics with Other Means: War and Protest”, presentation in research seminar series “Sozialgeschichte und Soziale Bewegungen“, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

April 2018:

March 2018:

  • 24.3.: Alexander Sedlmaier participates in workshop “’1968’ The Global and the Local”, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • 22.3.: lecture at Georgetown University, BMW Center for German and European Studies
  • Library/archival visit: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.