Crisis in the Middle East: Humanitarianism, Religion and Diplomacy, c. 1860-1970

Conference at the Leibniz-Institute of European History, 7 – 9 February 2018

The third conference organised by the Network »Engaging Europe in the Arab World: Missionaries and Humanitarianism in the Middle East 1850s to 1970s« focuses on crises in the Middle East and the relation between humanitarianism, religion, and diplomacy. Participating scholars discuss the period from the Ottoman Empire to the Second World War and its aftermath. The panels analyse humanitarianism and missions in the context of imperial troubles, intervention, the European mandate system and nation-building. A round table with Eva Svoboda , Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and Jonathan Benthall, Director Emeritus of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Research Fellow at UCL, will conclude the proceedings discussing scholarship and humanitarian practice.

Crises have constituted a central topic in recent and past research on the Middle East and on humanitarianism. Yet, scholars of the history of humanitarian aid have mostly studied a sample of well known, almost ›iconic‹ crises in this and other parts of the world emphasising interventions by Western powers. At the same time, the central if changing role of religion has been neglected through an assumed waning of its influence and the dominant perspective of secular actors. The present major humanitarian crisis in the Middle East which followed military strikes led by Western powers against authoritarian regimes, the so-called Arab Spring, and continued regional warfare has not only brought the area back with force on the agenda of world politics, it also made Europe acutely aware of its entangled, multifaceted history with the Middle East.

Convenors for the Network: Esther Möller and Johannes Paulmann (Mainz)

Network partners: Karèn Sanchez (Leiden University), Chantal Verdeil (INALCO, Paris), Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda University College, Norway), Esther Möller and Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz-Institute of European History)

The Network is sponsored by NWO, The Netherlands “Internationalisation in the Humanities Programme”


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