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Conference Keynote: Tim Cook 'Entrenched Culture: Soldiers’ Culture in the Aftermath of the First World War'

Date published: 
Wednesday, 21 March, 2018

The abstracts for the keynote speakers for the upcoming Reflections on the commoration of World War One conference are now available on the conference page.

Entrenched Culture: Soldiers’ Culture in the Aftermath of the First World War

Songs, poetry, slang, trench newspapers, superstitions, theatre, and trench art were all cultural products created by the soldiers for the soldiers, and together they offer insight into questions of identity, camaraderie, and coping with the strain of service and battle. Using a case study of Canadian soldiers, this talk explores a culture that was formed in spaces of violence. Little attention has been paid in the literature to whether this culture found its way back to Canada after the war.  Indeed, this culture mattered during the war and it continued to matter in the postwar years.  A study of this soldiers’ culture and its transformation into a veterans’ culture offers new ways to conceptualize the commemoration of the war experience, with veterans forging different strands of memory and meaning from that of others who had not served in uniform.

Dr. Tim Cook is a historian at the Canadian War Museum. He was the curator for the museum’s First World War permanent gallery, and he has curated numerous temporary, travelling and digital exhibitions. He has also authored 11 books, most of which have been longlisted, shortlisted or awarded prizes. His books have won the C.P. Stacey Prize for Military History (twice), the Ottawa Book Award (twice), the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the J.W. Dafoe Book Prize. His newest book is Vimy: The Battle and the Legend (2017), which was a national best-seller.

In 2012, Dr. Cook was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian history and in 2013 he received the Governor General’s History Award. Dr. Cook is a Member of the Order of Canada.