Book Review on “Abolitionizing Missouri”

Cross-posted from: H-TGS

Sarah Panter, Review of: Kristen Layne Anderson. Abolitionizing Missouri: German Immigrants and Racial Ideology in Nineteenth-Century America. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2016. 272 pp. $48.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8071-6196-8.

Reviewed by Sarah Panter (Leibniz Institute of European History)
Published on H-TGS (September, 2016)
Commissioned by Alison C. Efford

Until a decade ago, it seemed that almost everything had been said about the experiences of nineteenth-century German immigrants in the United States. In recent years, however, historians have provided fresh perspectives on broader aspects of the social, political, and cultural history of the German-speaking diaspora in the United States. This is especially true of the second half of the nineteenth century and becomes visible, for example, in the claims for a “transnational turn in Civil War history.”[1] As a result, younger scholars have adapted new methodological approaches and started to open up the international potential of this research field by emphasizing the need to contextualize the attitudes of German-speaking immigrants and how they negotiated social, cultural, and racial differences in an entangled transatlantic space.[2]

In this larger context, Kristen Layne Anderson provides a valuable and well-written study. Anderson aims to question the image of German immigrants as idealistic fighters for humanity and as indisputably radical abolitionists in the border state of Missouri, particularly in St. Louis. In so doing, the author shows convincingly that “the racial ideology of the majority of German Americans in St. Louis was quite pragmatic, in that they shifted their position on slavery and the place of African Americans in American society when it benefited their own community to do so” (p. 3). Correspondingly, German Missourians took different stands on questions of race, gender, class, and religion between 1848 and 1870. The study’s arguments are supported by drawing on a broad range of sources, including the German- and English-language press representing different political orientations, statistical material from census documents, and personal and family papers. The six chapters are arranged chronologically and mainly follow political events and dynamics with regard to the questions of slavery and racial equality.

Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the period of the early 1850s, showing how slavery became an increasingly important and politicized issue after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Before this watershed event, many German Missourians had shared an “ambivalence about the institution of slavery” with the majority of their native-born counterparts in the North (p. 18). Whereas up to that point they did—far more than historians have usually tended to acknowledge—accept slavery’s existence, fears about its negative impact on white farmers and workers grew into a major concern. One important reason for this changing attitude was that the discussion about slavery had become entangled with questions of further expansion to the West and the possible opportunities for immigrants to settle in these new territories. The impact of slavery on the enslaved themselves was, however, still a marginal issue, even among more radical German abolitionists in St. Louis. As the opposition of German Missourians toward slavery grew, and German-language newspapers started to portray (fugitive) slaves as “actors in their own right” (p. 53), anti-German sentiment in Missouri became stronger, too. Nonetheless, these external pressures did not always have a unifying impact on German Missourians, sometimes leading instead to internal divisions. The community became increasingly polarized between conservative Germans and the more radical ones who claimed to be the standard-bearers of the ideals of the European revolutions of 1848.

Chapters 3 and 4 shed new light on the role of German Missourians during the Civil War, their affiliations with the Republican Party, and their shifting concepts of emancipation. In these chapters, Anderson convincingly revises long-lasting exaltations and myths accompanying the role of German immigrants for keeping Missouri in the Union. Although, for example, fears of secession were widespread among German Missourians, they very often supported the Union and the Republican Party because they feared that to do otherwise would compromise their economic and political power in this border state. Yet “dissension in the ranks” did occur (p. 90), showing the important interplay of ethnicity and religion, with German Catholics and Lutherans supporting the South. After the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, radical and conservative Germans drifted even further apart. Whereas radical Germans pushed for immediate instead of gradual emancipation, conservative ones, threatened by ever-increasing nativism, tried to counter nativist attitudes by aligning themselves with the racial ideology of native-born whites. With important shifts in the social hierarchy, especially in St. Louis, African Americans became more visible in the everyday lives of many white Missourians. Their perceived invasion of a white space shattered the prewar racial hierarchy and also fed German Americans’ anxieties.

Chapters 5 and 6 round up the arguments by focusing on how German Missourians’ attitudes changed during early Reconstruction when they were confronted with questions of black equality in public spaces, like schools, but also regarding the potential threat of interracial gender relations. Sometimes violence erupted over these conflicts and the Ku Klux Klan, as in other regions, found a welcome justification for its actions. Whereas conflicting opinions concerning black suffrage existed already before and became more visible after 1865, the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 led to a strategical realignment. Fearing now that black voters could hurt immigrant interests and not vote with them, “most German Republicans ultimately turned against black suffrage” (p. 170)—despite previously portraying themselves as one of its strongest supporters. In part because of the issue of black voting, German Missourians contributed to a split with the leadership of the Republican Party.

Although the author’s approach contributes significantly to dismantling misleading stereotypes of German Missourians of the past, more contextualization would have increased the book’s significance. A systematic integration of a transnational approach to immigration history would have emphasized the entanglements between the North American, European, and regional contexts in the German Confederation more strongly and precisely. Similarly, embedding German Missourians more firmly in the US context would have provided the basis for broader and more systematic reflections on their similarities to and differences from other ethnic groups in Missouri or German Americans outside of Missouri. All in all, Anderson demonstrates convincingly the very complex situation of German Missourians between 1848 and 1870 and their struggle for citizenship and finding a place in the racial hierarchy of the United States. Her study is therefore not only a welcome contribution to the history of German-speaking immigrants in Missouri but also a well-researched local case study and reevaluation of the attitude of ethnic groups toward slavery and racial equality during the Civil War era.


[1]. Patrick J. Kelly, “The European Revolutions of 1848 and the Transnational Turn in Civil War History,” Journal of the Civil War Era 4, no. 3 (2014): 431–443.

[2]. See, in particular, Alison C. Efford, German Immigrants, Race, and Citizenship in the Civil War Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Mischa Honeck, We Are the Revolutionists: German-Speaking Immigrants and American Abolitionists after 1848 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011); and Heléna Tóth, An Exiled Generation: German and Hungarian Refugees of Revolution, 1848–1871 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Printable Version:

Citation: Sarah Panter. Review of Anderson, Kristen Layne, Abolitionizing Missouri: German Immigrants and Racial Ideology in Nineteenth-Century America. H-TGS, H-Net Reviews. September, 2016.


51. Historikertag, Panel “Matters of Law or Religion? Human Rights, Ideology, and Religion in the Divided Germany and Europe after 1945”

Panel: “Matters of Law or Religion? Human Rights, Ideology, and Religion in the Divided Germany and Europe after 1945”

Organized by Dr. Sebastian Gehrig and Dr. Ned Richardson-Little

Human rights and international law garnered increasing popularity since the end of the Second World War. Since the end of the Cold War, the language of human rights has reached unprecedented social and political legitimacy. At the same time, however, the religious, legal, and ideological origins of competing ideas of human rights fell into oblivion. The secular and legal language of today’s human rights debates has helped obscuring their conflict-ridden history. Recent scholarship has thus emphasised the role of ideological conflicts, church and religious activism, and social movements in the emergence of human rights as a political language and part of international law. How did socialist human rights concepts develop alongside and in conflict with liberal-democratic ideas? What was the role of the churches, religious groups and activists in the negotiation of human rights language? How were human rights politically employed and by whom? Was the so-called human rights revolution of the 1970s much more triggered by Third World liberation ideology and decolonisation movements than Western governments? And finally: Did religious and ideological beliefs structure the evolution of human rights language and international law much more than legal thought? This section explores human rights concepts, their political language, and religious and ideological roots as an integral part of the Cold War in Germany and beyond.


PD Dr. Katharina Kunter (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Säkularisierungskitt und Antikriegswaffe? Christentum und Menschenrechte nach 1945

Dr. Ned Richardson-Little (University of Exeter)

Das Scheitern der Sozialistischen Menschenrechte

Dr. Sebastian Gehrig (University of Oxford)

Der Kampf um das menschenfreundlichere System: Menschenrechte, das geteilte Deutschland und die Vereinten Nationen nach 1945

Dr. Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institut für Europäische Geschichte Mainz)

Zur Idee der Humanitären Intervention im Zeichen des Kalten Krieges, 1945-1989


PD Dr. Annette Weinke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)

Call for Applications: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy 2017

Drs Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson are pleased to announce that the Call for Applications for the third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2017 is now open, with a deadline of 31 December 2016.


Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy

International Research Academy on the History of Global Humanitarianism

Academy Leaders:   

Fabian Klose, Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz

Johannes Paulmann, Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz

Andrew Thompson, University of Exeter

in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)

and with support by the German Historical Institute London


Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz &

Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross Geneva

Dates:                         10-21 July 2017

Deadline:                    31 December 2016

Information at:


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Conference Announcement

Menschen – Bilder – Eine Welt.

Menschenbilder in Missionszeitschriften aus der Zeit des Kaiserreichs

6–8 October, 2016

Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz)


While recent research has shown great interest in the media dimensions of global movements and transnational campaigns in the twentieth century, we still know only little about the use and function of images in the modern missionary movement. However, already a brief glance at mission periodicals makes clear that missionary organizations were among the first transnational institutions that massively (re)produced, distributed and used large amounts of images from throughout the world in their various printed materials. Already in the nineteenth century, they used selected images (engravings, photographs) for specific ends and placed them in specific medial and communicative contexts, which ranged from certain visions of differentiating and ordering the world’s people to emphasizing Christian ideas of shared humanity.

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Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century

Review of Johannes Paulmann (ed.) Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century. London: Oxford University Press, 2016. 460 pp. £75 (hardback), ISBN: 9780198778974

Ben Holmes History Department, University of Exeter

 Cross-posted from

Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century (2016), edited by Johannes Paulmann (Director of the Leibniz Institute of European History and Professor of Modern History at the University of Mainz), exemplifies the burgeoning field of the history of humanitarianism. In providing historical context to a sector that is often stuck in the ‘perpetual present’, the volume shares a common purpose with a fast-growing body of literature.[1] Specifically, the volume examines 150 years of history to demonstrate that the technical and ethical crises central to modern humanitarianism – such as competition between aid organisations, the tendency of aid to ‘do more harm than good’, and the manipulation of aid by political actors – are not unique to the twenty first century. They have, in fact, ‘been inherent in humanitarian practice for more than a century’ [3].[2]


Examining humanitarianism from the late nineteenth century to the present places this volume in similar territory to Michael Barnett’s Empire of Humanity (2011). Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid is based on a conference that took place in the same year that Barnett’s work was published. Nevertheless, the edited volume has responded to some of the historiographical criticisms aimed at Empire of Humanity. Firstly, to counter Barnett’s western-centric focus, the volume incorporates ‘the point of view of Europe and the West and of the Colonies and the Third World’ [28].[3] Secondly, Paulmann seeks to challenge Barnett’s three chronological ‘Ages of Humanitarianism’ for being too rigid and for tending to ignore overlaps and ‘contingencies’ in the history of humanitarianism.[4]

Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid structures its chapters according to four chronological periods: ‘Multiple Foundations of International Humanitarianism’ contains chapters on humanitarian aid from the nineteenth century to 1919; ‘Humanitarianism in the Shadow of Colonialism and World Wars’ spans the interwar years up to the end of the Second World War; ‘Humanitarianism at the Intersection of Cold War and Decolonization’ covers the period 1945 to 1990; and, ‘Dilemmas of Global Humanitarianism’ examines topics relating to modern-day humanitarianism. The boundaries between these chronological periods are not fixed, with several chapters highlighting, for example, how ideas and practices spanned the interwar and Cold War years.

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Report Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2016

The 2nd Global Humanitarianism Research Academy at the Centre for Imperial and Global History, University of Exeter, and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva

Whole group CB 2 klein

GHRA 2016 at Reed Hall, University of Exeter, 13 July 2016

The GHRA 2016, organized by FABIAN KLOSE (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), JOHANNES PAULMANN (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), and ANDREW THOMPSON (University of Exeter) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with support by the German Historical Institute London, took place from July 11 to 22, 2016 at the University of Exeter and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The 2016 GHRA had eleven fellows (ten PhD candidates, one Postdoc) who were selected in a highly competitive application process. They came from Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They represented a range of disciplinary approaches from History, International History, Politics, International Relations, and Area Studies. The Research Academy was joined by STACEY HYND (University of Exeter) and KATHARINA STORNIG (Leibniz Institute of European History) as well as JEAN-LUC BLONDEL (formerly of the ICRC) and MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter).

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The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Impact of History

On Wednesday, 20th July, the fellows of the GHRA 2016 discussed topical issues as well as the role and impact of history with Charlotte Lindsey Curtet at the Humanitarium, the conference centre at the headquarters of the ICRC in Geneva. As Director of Communication and Information Management since 2010, Charlotte Lindsey is not only current in all present affairs but also responsible for the Archives of the ICRC.

GHRA 2016_002

Charlotte Lindsey Curtet with the fellows of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy, Geneva 20 July 2016.

She herself has witnessed great changes since she joined the organisation in 1993 when she first went on missions to Bosnia and Ruanda. In 1999-2000 she conducted a major research on women and war resulting in the publication of Women Facing War (2001). The findings in some instances surprised her herself, she said. Looking at women not merely through the prism of sexual violence and as victims but as actors in their own right broadened the perspectives and made the ICRC more gender sensitive in terms of operational response as well as legal development. The “all victims approach” prevalent until then has since been abandoned in favour of a more nuanced notion without giving up the principle of impartiality. In more recent years, similar discussions are taking place in relation to the challenges of cultural and particularly religious differences. The aim always is to find communality in order to come to the aid of those who suffer across the divides of a conflict. Increasing Respect for International Humanitarian Law in non-International Armed Conflicts (2008) suggests in a chapter on “strategic argumentation” to appeal to core values as “the fundamental principles of humanitarian law are often mirrored in the values, ethics or morality of local cultures and traditions. Pointing out how certain rules or principles found in IHL also exist within the culture of a party to a conflict can help lead to increased compliance“ (p. 31).

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Guest Lectures of the GHRA 2016

The second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) has started with one week of academic training at the University of Exeter before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. On this occasion the GHRA is very pleased to welcome Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel and Prof. Richard Overy as two distinguished guest lecturers on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.

In the morning session Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel, the former Head of the ICRC Archives and former special advisor to the previous ICRC president, will speak on ICRC work and policies in 1966-1975.

In the afternoon session Prof. Richard Overy, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the British Academy as well as Professor of History at the University of Exeter, will give the guest lecture To Bomb or Not to Bomb: Morality, Expediency and Necessity in the British Wartime Experience.

We are all very much looking forward to these two presentations and the following discussion!




Online Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights

On the occasion of the Second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA), which will start next Sunday at the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter, we are happy to announce that our common project of an “Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights” is now online.

The Online Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights is jointly published by the Leibniz Institute of European History and the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter as part of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA). It is hosted by the Leibniz Institute of European History.




The Online Atlas provides readers with concise analytical information on key concepts, events, and people which shaped the development of modern humanitarianism and human rights. The entries of the Online Atlas are written by the successive generations of fellows of the GHRA and other experts connected to the Research Academy.

The entries describe particular historical moment as well as its consequences and wider meanings. Additional materials include a review of scholarly debates, further reading, and visual representations. The Online Atlas addresses a broader public. It is a valuable resource for those engaged in the field of humanitarian action and human rights as well as students and academics. It provides a reliable source of information and access to essential issues of the entangled world of humanitarianism across borders and historical epochs.

The projected started in December 2015 with some 10 entries and will grow the number of entries successively over the years. Ultimately the Online Atlas is planned to cover about 50 key locations in Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The Online Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights is jointly published by the Leibniz Institute of European History and the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter as part of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA).

The Editors

Fabian Klose, Marc Palen, Johannes Paulmann, Andrew Thompson

Second GHRA, 10-22 July 2016

In ten days the second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for one week of academic training at the University of Exeter before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

UnbenanntThe GHRA received again a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than sixteen different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal very carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2016:

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Book Review of Alexis Heraclides/Aada Dialla on “Humanitarian Intervention”

Cross-posted from:

Fabian Klose, Review of: Alexis Heraclides / Ada Dialla, Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century. Setting the precedent, Series: Humanitarianism. Key debates and new approaches, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2015, 253 pp., ISBN 978 0 7190 8990 9, $ 110.


The issue of humanitarian intervention – the use of force to prevent and to end gross violations of humanitarian norms – is usually associated with the last decade of the twentieth century and described as a recent phenomenon emerging mainly after the end of the Cold War. However, over the last few years an intriguing discussion about the historical origins and the emergence of the concept has evolved. Recent studies provide first significant steps towards a genuine history of humanitarian intervention and convincingly sketch the genealogy of the concept’s long history, reaching back to the 18th and 19th centuries. With very few exceptions, most of these books focus on the European interventions to protect Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire during the long 19th century and present these case studies as pivotal for the evolution of the concept [1]. In their new book “Humanitarian intervention in the long nineteenth century. Setting the precedent”, published in Manchester University Press’s new series on “Humanitarianism”, Alexis Heraclides, Professor of International Relations at the Panteion University in Athens, and Ada Dialla, Assistant Professor of European History at the Athens School of Fine Arts, largely follow this track. Their choice of case studies also include the already well-studied interventions of the Great Powers in the Greek war of independence (1821–32), in Lebanon and Syria (1860–61) as well as the so-called “Bulgarian atrocities” during the Balkan crisis of 1875–78. Only the very brief chapter on the US intervention in the Cuban war of independence in 1898 adds an additional case not related to the Ottoman Empire.

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Conference Report on the Workshop „Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare“

International Workshop

Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare: Intersections and Transformations

in the Early Modern and Modern Period 

April 10–12, 2016

Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz, and Museum Judengasse, Frankfurt a.M.

Shtadlanut (intercession) is generally perceived as a Jewish political practice or as Jewish diplomacy. It was often closely connected with “righteous” and charitable activities (tzedakah) within the Jewish community. Whereas the Jewish welfare system and charitable activities were already highly developed in the medieval times, shtadlanut had its first heydays in the early modern period. In Western and Central Europe wealthy Jewish court factors and in Eastern European communities the shtadlan (Jewish representative) became integral parts of the Jewish communal and inter-communal structures. During the 19th and early 20th century, both shtadlanut and tzedakah changed fundamentally. While Jews were offered emancipation, which demanded certain degrees of inclusion, acculturation and sometimes even assimilation, Jewish intercession and solidarity seemed to remain important due to an incomplete integration and increasing anti-Semitism.

Thus, the workshop took a fresh look at the traditional understanding of shtadlanut and tzedakah and examined how both ideas and practices were interrelated and changed over time. Consequently, the workshop addressed the following questions: How did Jews represent and negotiate their interests and “otherness” in different societies? Why and how could they receive special cultural, economic, and legal status from the early modern period up to the 20th century? How influential were the concept and practice of tzedakah in Jewish political traditions? And finally, how have intercession and welfare been adapted in the course of the modern era?

The keynote of NOAM ZOHAR (Bar Ilan) opened the workshop at the newly renovated Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt am Main. In his lecture, Zohar discussed selected passages from the Talmud, Midrashim, and also rabbinical responsa from the Middle Ages, and traced back Jewish political thinking to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. His inter-textual approach revealed a long durée perspective on the subject of a Jewish political tradition that included perceptions and ideas of authority and membership but also morals of charity and welfare.

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JHIL Article: Human Rights for and against Empire

In March 2014 Oliver Dörr (Osnabrück), Marc Frey (Munich), and Jörn Axel Kämmerer (Hamburg) organized the Hamburg Symposium on Colonialism and International Law at the Bucerius Law School. Some of papers of the conference have now been published as articles in the new issue of the Journal of the history of International Law.



My own article deals with the topic of  Human Rights for and against Empire – Legal and Public Discourses in the Age of Decolonisation (JHIL, Vol. 18, 2016, p. 317-338). Against the background of an ongoing debate about the role of human rights in the age of decolonization this essay approaches the issue from two different angles. It concentrates on the paradoxical situation that anti-colonial movements as well as colonial powers instrumentalized international human rights documents such as the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the European Conventions on Human Rights for achieving their political goals. In combining legal and public discourses in a significant way both sides accused each other of gross human rights violations while at the same time presenting themselves as respecting and even guaranteeing fundamental human rights. Especially during the course of the wars of decolonization after 1945 this phenomena became obvious in various diplomatic debates at the United Nations and made universal rights a diplomatic pawn in international debates.

For this recent issue of the JHIL see:

Conference Announcement “Histories of the Red Cross Movement: Continuity & Change”, 9-11 September, 2016, Adelaide, Australia

Conference Convenors:

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer
Professor of History, Flinders University

Professor Neville Wylie
Professor of International Political History, University of Nottingham, UK

Dr Christine Winter ARC Future Fellow
University of Sydney, Australia

Dr James Crossland
Senior Lecturer in International History, Liverpool John Moores University UK

This conference acknowledges the growing number of historians and researchers working in the rapidly expanding area of the history of the international Red Cross Movement. With its origins in the mid-nineteenth century, this global humanitarian organisation includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) originally formed in Geneva in 1863, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) created in 1919, as well as the 189 (at last count) national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.
The convenors seek to bring together scholars and those interested in the Red Cross Movement from around the world to explore a number of themes that related to the historical development of this large, multifaceted, complex organisation.

More information can be found here:

Call for Papers: International Conference “Gender & Humanitarianism”, IEG Mainz, 29 June – 1 July 2017

CfP Conference

“Gender & Humanitarianism. (Dis-)Empowering Women and Men in the Twentieth Century”

IEG Mainz, June 29 – July 1, 2017

Conveners: Esther Möller, Johannes Paulmann, Katharina Stornig

© ICRC / hist-02753-24a 1© ICRC / hist-02753-24a 1

© Imperial War Museum London / hist-0021 1

© Imperial War Museum London / hist-0021 1

This conference will discuss the relationship between gender and humanitarian discourse and practice in the twentieth century. Although the history of humanitarianism has recently attracted attention from scholars working in a variety of fields, surprisingly little has been said about the workings of gender in this globalizing enterprise. To fill this gap, this interdisciplinary conference will analyze the ways in which constructions and ideologies of gender shaped and were shaped by humanitarian practices, interactions, ideas, and bodies. We invite innovative contributions from historians, anthropologists, social scientists and from the humanities discussing twentieth-century humanitarian actors (organizations, movements, and individual activists), discourses and practices in the context of gender. The conference particularly emphasizes the time between the First World War and the end of the Cold War, with a special focus on the (re)production of humanitarian structures, organizations and orders in both post-war periods and in the context of heightened colonialism and decolonization. It thus concentrates on a period that not only witnessed a great expansion of humanitarian action worldwide but also saw fundamental changes in gender relations and the gradual emergence of gender-sensitive policies in humanitarian organizations in many Western and non-Western settings.

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