Please join the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War for this year’s Annual Lecture with Dr Erica Charters, Associate Professor of Global History and the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford.
Modern wars are often evaluated numerically, whether through the toll of those killed or through financial costs. So-called body counts, first used publicly during the US Vietnam War, for example, highlight how numbers of casualties are crucial political as well as military concerns. Yet this quantitative approaches to war is not simply a reflection of the general statistical turn in modern societies. Instead, it was war that drove this statistical turn. Early modern European warfare was a crucial site for spreading numeracy and developing statistical practices and technologies.
In this lecture, Dr Charters will examine the history of counting in warfare across the early modern and modern period, showing how the methods of European war focused political attention on manpower and death rates, thereby developing concepts of acceptable and excess mortality.
This event will be held in the Safra Lecture Theatre, Strand Building and will also be available online, please register via Eventbrite for either a physical attendance or virtual ticket: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-metrics-of-war-excess-mortality-and-the-politics-of-counting-tickets-157254363033
About the speaker
Dr Erica Charters is Associate Professor of Global History and the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. She has published widely on the history of war and empires, and is a recipient of the Society for Army Historical Research Templer Medal for Best First Book. Her publications include Disease, War, and the Imperial State; A Global History of Early Modern Violence (co-edited with Marie Houllemare and Peter Wilson); and Civilians and War in Europe, 1618-1815 (co-edited with Hannah Smith and Eve Rosenhaft). She is Senior Vice President of the Navy Records Society, Executive Committee Member of the Society for the History of War, and co-directs the interdisciplinary project ‘Body Counts / les pertes’.
London WC2R 2LS