Massey University Research Seminar – Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

Massey University’s School of Humanities, Media & Creative Communication invites you to a research seminar:

Mired in controversy: The history of the dum-dum bullet’. By Professor Maartje Abbenhuis

12:30pm, Wednesday 27 April (Zoom Link:

Abstract: In 1899, the delegates gathered at The Hague Peace Conference agreed to prohibit the military use of a particular type of rifle bullet, namely one that expanded or flattened on impact. Named after the ordnance factory in India in which they were most famously manufactured, these Dum Dum bullets gained notoriety in the global press for the horrifying wounds they caused. This paper situates the dum-dum controversy of the 1890s within the history of the development, adoption and utilisation of rifles and their ammunition since the 1850s, with a particular focus on the British Empire, including Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Biography: Maartje Abbenhuis is Professor in Modern History at Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland. She has published widely on the history of war, peace, neutrality and international ideas, including: The Art of Staying Neutral: The Netherlands in the First World War (2004); An Age of Neutrals: Great Power Politics 1815-1914 (2014); The Hague Conferences in International Politics 1898-1915 (2018); The First Age of Industrial Globalisation: An International History 1815-1918 (co-authored, 2018) and Global War, Global Catastrophe: Neutrals, Belligerents and the Transformation of the First World War (co-authored, 2021). At present, she is working on a history of rifle bullets.

Any enquiries, please contact David Littlewood (