ERC €1.2m veteran history project gets underway

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 09:45

A four-year ERC project at Maynooth University’s Department of History aims to deepen the understanding of veteran history around the world in the interwar period and to capture the diversity of veteran experiences.

Prof Dónal Hassett received a €1.2m European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for the project, COLVET: Ex-Soldiers of Empire: Colonial Veterancy in the Interwar World, which will develop the first comparative account of colonial veterancy in the interwar period, regarded as the foundational era for modern conceptions of the veteran.

The project will trace and analyse the similarities and differences in veteran policy across the French, Italian and American colonial empires as well as British-ruled East Africa and India. Prof Hassett has joined MU’s History Department from UCC, and the project will get underway shortly.

It will trace and compare the history of veteran experiences and policy across colonial contexts and imperial polities. It will use veteran policy and the responses it elicited to explore the nature of colonial rule across interwar empires. The project will expand the imagined geography of veteran history in the period to include colonial veterans. It will also reimagine the conceptual framework of veteran history so it can better incorporate colonial veterans alongside veterans from the rest of the world.

The research generated through the project will be combined with scholarship on veterans in other contexts with the aim of producing a new analytical framework to facilitate the writing of a global history of the veteran.