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 imperialglobalexeter.com

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]

Paulmann

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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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!

ExeterIEGICRCghil

 

 

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.

 

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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:  hsozkult.de

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.

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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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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.

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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:

http://www.brill.com/journal-history-international-law-revue-dhistoire-du-droit-international

International Workshop “Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare”

Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare:

Intersections and Transformations in the Early Modern and Modern Period

April 10–12, 2016

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. Both practices changed fundamentally during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Jews were offered emancipation and, as a result, faced issues of inclusion, acculturation, and assimilation. In this context, the shtadlanim (advocates) of the Jewish minority were confronted with the incomplete integration as well as increasing anti-Semitism, which appear to have reinforced the necessity of Jewish intercession and solidarity.

The workshop takes a new look at the concepts of shtadlanut and tzedakah, in order to identify how they are interrelated and how these interrelations have changed over time. Key questions of the workshop are: How did Jews represent and negotiate their interests and “otherness” in different societies? Why and how could they receive special status in cultural, economic, and legal systems from the early modern period up to the 20th century? How influential were the concept and practice of tzedakah in Jewish political traditions? How have intercession and welfare been adapted in the course of the modern era?

Convener

Dr. Mirjam Thulin

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Book Review of Heide Fehrenbach/Davide Rodogno, (eds.) “Humanitarian Photography”

Cross-posted from http://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-24908

Katharina Stornig, Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz: Review of Fehrenbach, Heide; Rodogno, Davide (Hrsg.): Humanitarian Photography. A History. Cambridge 2015.

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Although the history of humanitarianism has recently attracted great attention from historians and social scientists, surprisingly little work has so far been done on its visual dimensions. Yet there can be no doubt that images, visual technologies, and media practices were fundamental to the emergence and formation of a global humanitarian enterprise since the nineteenth century. The volume “Humanitarian Photography,” edited by Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno, thus constitutes an important and most welcome contribution to a flourishing field of research. Focusing on the mobilization of photography by humanitarian activists and organizations in the twentieth century, the volume gives compelling insights into the transnational production, reproduction, use, and function of photographs in various contexts of humanitarian activism. Pointing to the key role that photography played in the development of humanitarianism, it introduces a range of people, groups and organizations that conceived of photographs as essential means in order to aid far-off people, to raise funds or to create awareness of human suffering. Fehrenbach and Rodogno insist on the need to study humanitarian photography in a historical perspective. Consequently, their volume, which follows an interdisciplinary approach and consists of both new texts and reprints of important articles in the field, presents a chronology, according to which humanitarian photography emerged out of transnational missionary activity, expanded within various international organizations and eventually developed into a professional field that was ethically framed and regulated in the 1980s.

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Conference Report “Humanity – A History of European Concepts in Practice” by Ceren Aygül

Report by Ceren Aygül, Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz

 

This interdisciplinary conference, organized by Fabian Klose (Mainz) and Mirjam Thulin (Mainz) on behalf of the members of IEG research group “Coping with Difference – Concepts of Humanity and Humanitarian Practices”, was held at the Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz) from 8 to 10 October 2015. Prioritizing a comparative approach and focusing on the intersection of religious studies, international law and philosophy as well as on the history of humanitarianism and human rights, this conference set out to analyse the varieties and shifting meanings of the term “humanity” within the European context as well as in the context of Europe’s relations to other world regions. Keeping religious, colonial, social and gender aspects of the issue in mind, theologians and historians discussed the topic of “humanity” by focusing on such key issues as morality and human dignity, violence and international law, philanthropy, charity and solidarity.

2015-10-08 -10  Poster Humanity

The conference opened with a keynote lecture in which FRANCISCO BETHENCOURT (London) offered a historical review of principal aspects and categories of the division of humankind supposedly based on ethnicity, religion, gender, wealth and social status. He marked economic and political interests as the key motivations behind discriminatory actions and put an emphasis on ideological justifications of those distinctions. Questioning the universality of these divisions, he highlighted power relations as the basis of the categories and divisions, most of which displayed unstable patterns changed or recreated over time.

The first panel of the conference, dealing with morality and human dignity in early modern concepts, opened with MIHAI-D. GRIGORE’s (Mainz) presentation. Grigore concentrated on a transition in early modern political anthropology from humanitas Christiana, which viewed humanity as depending on an external or transcendental factor, i.e. God or the Church, to humanitas politica, which understood humanity as being inherent to every human being. Grigore traced this transition in the writings of Erasmus, which emphasises human nature as the property of individuals, not the Church, and a mutual goodwill intensified by education. MARIANO DELGADO (Fribourg) then presented his paper on the reflections of Spanish Catholic thinkers about the “nature” of American Indians in the 16th century. After outlining the dual genealogy of these thinkers’ ideas – the humanistic, enlightened thread stemming from the Stoa, considering the human race as one family, on the one side and Christian theology stressing man in the image of God on the other – Delgado presented two very different Christian thinkers, Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, showing how Sepúlveda justified European expansion in the Americas with the Indians’ supposed inferiority, and how Las Casas fought for the recognition of the Indians’ status as human beings. Delgado’s contribution was a reminder both of the variety of Christian thinking in the early modern period and of the strength of humanistic ideas even before the Enlightenment.

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ICRC Audiovisual Archives Portal now Open!

Cross-posted from http://icrchistory.tumblr.com/

An audiovisual treasure chest containing thousands of ICRC photos, films/videos and audio recordings documenting the ICRC past and present is now opened to public.

This new online platform, aimed at anyone curious to find out more about the audiovisual history of this 153 years humanitarian institution’s history, will give the public direct access to an amazing material illustrating the ICRC activities and operations from the end of the nineteenth century till the present day.

The new platform, which is available in English and French, contains more than 93,000 digitized and downloadable photos, around 1,700 films and videos and over 1000 audio recordings. Although some foreseen digital versions of videos are not attached yet to the online records, their integration is ongoing.

The portal really is a study in simplicity: Say, for example, you want to look at photos of ICRC activities in Ethiopia. Just a couple of clicks will take you to a database of some 900 photos dating back to 1935. You can search by year, country/region, keyword and person. There are even Red Cross radio programs to listen to and a selection of films dating back to 1921.

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New book: The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention

Fabian Klose (ed.), The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention. Ideas and Practice from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, Cambridge 2016.

How should the international community react when a government transgresses humanitarian norms and violates the human rights of its own nationals? And where does the responsibility lie to protect people from such acts of violation? In this new volume scholars from various disciplines investigate some of the most complex and controversial debates regarding the legitimacy of protecting humanitarian norms and universal human rights by non-violent and violent means. Charting the development of humanitarian intervention from its origins in the nineteenth century through to the present day, the book surveys the philosophical and legal rationales of enforcing humanitarian norms by military means, and how attitudes to military intervention on humanitarian grounds have changed over the course of three centuries. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines, the authors lend a fresh perspective to contemporary dilemmas using case studies from Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia.

9781107075511

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New GHRA Webpage

The new homepage of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) is now online!

Here you find all news regarding the GHRA such as recent Call for Applications, information on GHRA Participants, the Online Atlas on Humanitarianism and Human Rights as well as YouTube Videos of the GHRA 2015.

webpage ghra

Enjoy exploring: http://ghra.ieg-mainz.de/

 

Keep in mind: The second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2016 call for applications closes on 31 December 2015.

Final Call for Applications for Global Humanitarianism Research Academy 2016

The second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2016 call for applications closes on 31 December 2015.

Poster_GHRA_2016 (1)

Call for Applications:

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

Venues:                                  University of Exeter

Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

Dates:                                   10-22 July 2016

Deadline:                              31 December 2015

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The international Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy(GHRA) offers research training to advanced PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter and the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross 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.

The Research Academy invites applications for the 2016 Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy (GHRA) from PhD students and early postdocs. The Steering Committee will select up to 12 participants. Applicants must be able to certify that they are fluent in both written and spoken English, the Academy’s working language. For researching the ICRC archives a fair command of reading French is desirable in order to use the finding aids as well as the material.

Each selected academy fellow receives the cost of travel to Exeter and accommodation in Exeter and Geneva.

Participants of the international Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy will be chosen by the Steering Committee on the basis of

  1. a cover letter (maximum 350 words) setting out the applicant’s motivation for participating in the academy and indicating the anticipated outcome of their research;
  2. a statement (maximum 1,000 words) summarizing their research project;
  3. a brief curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages);
  4. two supporting letters/recommendations.

This application should be compiled by the applicant and the whole set of papers including statements of support should be submitted as a PDF, with the file saved as ‘LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.PDF’. To apply, please send your application consisting of one pdf-document with the Subject “Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy” to the organisers at ghra@ieg-mainz.de by December 31, 2015.

E-MAIL for applications and enquiries: ghra@ieg-mainz.de

“Refugees are Human” – Humanitarian Narratives and Strategies

In a recent conference held at the Leibniz Institute of European History international scholars discussed in an interdisciplinary dialogue the history of European concepts of humanity in practice. However, as matter of fact the relationship between concepts and practices of humanity is not only one of historical research, but is also most relevant in our days. Confronted with the tremendous humanitarian crisis of hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men trying to escape from disaster, war, and persecution – many of them drowning and dying on their perilous journeys to the alleged safe haven of Europe – voices are loudly raised appealing to common humanity and demanding appropriate action by the international community.

Syrian_refugees_strike_at_the_platform_of_Budapest_Keleti_railway_station__Refugee_crisis__Budapest,_Hungary,_Central_Europe,_4_September_2015__(3)

Syrian refugees strike at the platform of Budapest Keleti railway Station, 4 September 2015, Picture by Mstyslav Chernov CC BY-SA 4.0

Horrified by the loss of thousands of lives in the Mediterranean Sea and on the concrete occasion of the appalling discovery of 71 dead refugees asphyxiated inside an abandoned lorry nearby the Austrian-Hungarian border the UN Secretary-General Baan Ki-Moon launched an urgent appeal on 28 August 2015: “A large majority of people undertaking these arduous and dangerous journeys are refugees fleeing from places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. International law has stipulated – and states have long recognized – the right of refuges to protection and asylum. When considering asylum requests, States cannot make distinctions based on religion or other identity – nor can they force people to return to places from which they have fled if there is a well-founded fear of persecution or attack. This is not a matter of international law; it is also our duty as human beings. […] I appeal to all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.”[1]

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Towards a History of Socioeconomic Rights

First event of the Socioeconomic Rights in History Network will take place in Paris at the Institut d’Études avancées.

There will be public lectures at 18 November 2015, 14h-17h:

Programme:

14h-15h00

Socioeconomic Rights in History: Questions and Problems

Charles Walton, University of Warwick

Health and the History of Socioeconomic Rights since 1750

Claudia Stein, University of Warwick

Coffee/tea

15h10-16h10

The Demise of Social Rights as Human Rights in Europe

Marco Duranti, University of Sydney

The Human Right to Health: the Modern Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Sridhar Venkatapuram, King’s College London

16h10-17h

Comments, Q & A