Few historical events have resonated as fully in modern British popular culture as the Second World War. It has left a rich legacy in a range of media that continue to attract a wide audience: film, TV and radio, photography and the visual arts, journalism & propaganda, architecture, music and literature. The war’s institutionalised commemoration and remembrance fuels a museum and heritage industry whose work often benefits from the latest internet technology for maximum dissemination to educational institutions and the general public. In fact, the popular culture of the war is a cornerstone of its afterlife. The Second World War remains an easy point of reference for exhortations about public behaviour, from terrorist attacks (‘London can take it!’) to coping with credit crunch austerity (‘Make do and mend’).
This interdisciplinary conference will examine popular culture of the Second World War on the home front and in British theatres of war abroad. Defining popular culture in its widest sense – as both a ‘way of life’ and as ‘cultural texts’ – the conference will explore both wartime popular culture and its post-war legacy. We invite established scholars, museum curators, media practitioners and postgraduate researchers from a wide range of disciplines to contribute to a lively debate about the role and meaning of popular culture both during the war and in the cultural memory of the Second World War in Britain and elsewhere.
Professor Jim Aulich (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK), Professor Susan R. Grayzel (University of Mississippi, USA), Professor Gill Plain (University of St Andrews, UK)