International Workshop: Humanitarianism in Historical Perspective

EUI

 

 

Date:

25 November 2015

Venue:

European University Institute

Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia

via Giovanni Boccaccio 121, Florence

Few keywords evoke as much controversy as humanitarianism. What for some is a heroic movement that ended the slave trade is for others the rhetorical handmaiden of the European empires that partitioned Africa in the name of ending slavery and introducing civilization in the late nineteenth century. Its applications are also diverse, ranging from foreign interventions in the internal affairs of states to national and international regimes of refugee relief. In the main, humanitarianism has been associated with western powers—whether positively or negatively—but is that an accurate understanding of these phenomena? New research is historicizing these impressions, debates, and associated notions of humanity, human rights, and genocide prevention. This workshop continues the critical project of contextualizing humanitarianism’s many dimensions by conducting sober genealogies, invoking global frames, and conducting dense empirical reconstructions. Continue reading

Socioeconomic Rights in History Network

Rights, Duties and the Politics of Obligation: Socioeconomic Rights in History

Socioeconomic rights have a long but poorly understood history. They are sometimes referred to as ‘second generation rights’, as twentieth-century additions to core civil and political rights stretching back to the European Enlightenment. Yet, socioeconomic rights – such as the right to work and to subsistence – emerged in the political struggles of the French Revolution and have been repeatedly argued for since then. Although most countries in the world have legally recognized them as ‘human rights’ by signing the United Nations’ 1966 International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, they tend not to receive the same degree of legitimacy and visibility as civil and political rights.

eleanor-roosevelt.jpg

This Leverhulme International Network brings together scholars from around the world to explore the history of socioeconomic rights. We will consider representations of them over time as well as the various political and philosophical challenges to them. Their history, we believe, is bound up with other historical dynamics, including notions about ‘duties’ and ‘obligations’, theories of political economy, politics (left and right), philanthropy and humanitarianism. While taking a broad view of socioeconomic rights, we will focus especially on health: a topic of government concern since the eighteenth century but one that became understood in terms of civil and human rights in the twentieth.

The network is hosted by the Global History and Culture Centre and European Centre at the University of Warwick. Claudia Stein (History) and Charles Walton (History) are leading it, with support from James Harrison (Law). Network partners include:

Nicolas Delalande (Sciences Po)
Paul-André Rosental (Sciences Po)
Sabine Arnaud (Max Planck Institute of the History of Science)
Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History)
Sam Moyn (Harvard University)
Mark Goodale (University of Lausanne)

 

During its 36 month duration, the network will include six meetings on various issues concerning socioenocmic rights in history.

For more information visit the network’s Webpage @:

http://warwick.ac.uk/socioeconomicrightsnetwork

Conference Program “Humanity – a History of European Concepts in Practice”

Convenors:    Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin as well as all members                                      of the Leibniz Institute of European History Research Area II

Venue:            Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany

Date:               October 8 to 10, 2015

2015-10-08 -10  Poster Humanity

Conference Program

Thursday, October 8, 2015

16:00: Welcome and Introduction, Johannes Paulmann (Mainz), Fabian Klose (Mainz), Mirjam Thulin (Mainz)

16:30-17:30: Keynote Lecture: Humankind from Division to Recomposition, Francisco Bethencourt (London)

18:00 Dinner

 

Friday, October 9, 2015

09:00-10:30: Panel I: Morality and Human Dignity, Part I: Early Modern Concepts

  • Humanism and Its Humanitas. The Transition from humanitas Christiana to humanitas politica in the Political Writings of Erasmus, Mihai-D. Grigore (Mainz)
  • All People have Reason and Free Will. The Debate about the Nature of the Indigenous Americans in the 16th Century, Mariano Delgado (Fribourg)
  • Chair: Jorge Luengo (Mainz)
  • Commentary: Wolfgang Schmale (Vienna)

Continue reading

Conference “Connecting with the Past – the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Critical Historical Perspective”

Cross-posted from icrchistory

The International Committee of the Red Cross is hosting a two-day conference, bringing together prominent humanitarians and academics to reflect critically on the history of humanitarian action.

The 16-17 September conference, “Connecting with the Past – the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Critical Historical Perspective”, will consist of seven panels with around 30 panelists in addition to invited experts.

DSCN5054

The first night of the symposium will be a livestreamed public conference entitled “Stubborn Realities, Shared Humanity: History in the Service of Humanitarian Action.” It will feature the ICRC’s president Peter Maurer, along with Jane Cocking (Humanitarian Director, Oxfam UK), Sir Michael Aaronson (formerly Save the Children), academics Irène Herrmann (Associate Professor of Swiss Transnational History, University of Geneva) and Andrew Thompson, (Professor of Modern History, University of Exeter),  moderated by the ICRC’s Vincent Bernard.

At its International Conference in Vienna in 1965, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement proclaimed the Seven Fundamental Principles – Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity and Universality – as the basis for its humanitarian approach.

The two-day historical symposium, jointly organized by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the University of Exeter and the ICRC, aims to reflect on the relevance, influence and challenges of the humanitarian principles, from the birth of modern humanitarianism in the 19th century to today.

Interdisciplinary Conference “Humanity – a History of European Concepts in Practice”

Convenors:    Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin as well as all members                                      of the Leibniz Institute of European History Research Area II

Venue:            Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany

Date:               October 8 to 10, 2015

The aim of the interdisciplinary conference “Humanity” – a History of European Concepts in Practice is to analyze 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 from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The term defined in an English dictionary of 1755 as “1) The nature of a man, 2) Humankind; the collective body of mankind, 3) Benevolence; tenderness, 4) Philology; grammatical studies”, offers a wide range of starting points in research. Thus, references to “Humanity” can be found in ever increasing numbers on the research agenda of different disciplines.

2015-10-08 -10  Poster Humanity

In our interdisciplinary conference we seek to investigate the intertwined theoretical debates about “Humanity” on the one hand, and their diverse consequences in practice on the other hand. Having religious, colonial, social, and gender perspectives in mind, theologians, philosophers, legal and literary scholars as well as historians will discuss the issue of “Humanity” in a broader dialogue in order to connect their research agendas. In doing so, we will focus on the following issues:

  • Morality and Human Dignity
  • Violence and International Law
  • Philanthropy
  • Social Inequalities

By taking a comparative approach and exploring the intersections of religious studies, international law, philosophy, and literature as well as the history of humanitarianism and human rights the conference will be organized along four leading key questions:

  1. Is the term “Humanity” used as a central point of reference in your sources? If this is the case, to what extend is the term connected to the emergence of normative concepts, implying moral and religious commandments, humanitarian obligations, international law, and human rights?
  2. Which differences and similarities can be identified in the context of various linguistic, cultural and political backgrounds? Are there any equivalent or alternative terms used?
  3. Which historical actors explicitly refer to the term “Humanity”? What was the purpose of doing so? Did it significantly contribute to overcome existing divisions, or did it rather foster the emergence of new differences?
  4. Finally, what transformations of the definition and meaning of “Humanity” can be identified within the period of these 400 years that the conference focuses on?

The conference will be taking place at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany. For further information please contact Fabian Klose or Mirjam Thulin at klose@ieg-mainz.de or thulin@ieg-mainz.de.

‘Archival work and meetings at ICRC vital aspect of the Academy’ – Second Week of GHRA 2015 in Geneva

After the first week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 travelled for a week of research training and discussion with ICRC members to the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

DSCN5071GHRA participants in the ICRC Archives

The First Day at Geneva started with an introduction to the public archives and library resources by ICRC staff. Jean-Luc Blondel, former Delegate, Head of Division, and currently Adviser to the Department of Communication and Information Management welcomed the group. Daniel Palmieri, the Historical Research Officer at the ICRC, and
Fabrizio Bensi, Archivist, explained the development of the holdings, particularly of the recently opened records from 1966-1975. The Librarian Veronique Ziegenhagen introduced the library with its encompassing publications on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian Action, international conflicts and crises. The ICRC also possesses a superb collection of photographs and films which Fania Khan Mohammad, Photo archivist, and Marina Meier, Film archivist explained.

In the afternoon, the GHRA group had the chance to discuss with Jacques Moreillon, Director General of the ICRC between 1984 and 1988. He gave a presentation on his long experience with special insights into Red Cross prison visits with political detainees. Dr Moreillon was one of the ICRC delegates to visit Nelson Mandela on Robben Island and shared his vivid memories with the participants.

GHRA 2015_110Jacques Moreillon, Honorary Member of the ICRC, at the GHRA 2015

Continue reading

First Week of the GHRA 2015

After the first part the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2015 at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz the next week of academic training will take place at the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

_DSC2781

Participants of the GHRA 2015

On Day One recent research and fundamental concepts of global humanitarianism were critically reviewed. Participants discussed crucial texts on the historiography of humanitarianism and human rights. Themes included the historical emergence of humanitarianism since the eighteenth century and the troubled relationship between humanitarianism, human rights, and humanitarian intervention. Further, twentieth century conjunctures of humanitarian aid and the colonial entanglements of human rights were discussed. Finally, recent scholarship on the genealogies of the politics of humanitarian protection and human rights since the 1970s was assessed, also with a view on the challenges for the 21st century.

During Day Two, participants presented their own Ph.D. and Postdoc projects while getting constructive collective Feedback. These projects showcased the richness and variety of research currently undertaken by a new generation of academics who are set to make a critical contribution to the field.

Day Three was reserved for the guest lecture by Professor Michael Geyer from the University of Chicago, who was talking on the Topic:  “Humanitarianism, Humanitarian Law, and Human Rights: A Difficult Relationship”. The ensuing lively discussion was enriched by the former Head of the ICRC Archives Jean-Luc Blondel who has been an ICRC delegate since 1982 and is a former regional delegate in Buenos Aires and special advisor to the previous ICRC president. During the afternoon, there was also the opportunity for individual tutorials by the GHRA leaders and free study time.

_DSC2761_2

Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

During Day Four & Five the GHRA worked on the Online Atlas of Humanitarianism. This is an open access publication by the GHRA participants from successive years. The Online Atlas of Humanitarianism will consist of an interactive world map displaying ca. 50 locations in Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe, where significant events took place and shaped the development of humanitarianism and human rights in a crucial way. It will define key terms of both research fields and will display the worldwide entanglement of various places across geographical borders and historical epochs.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.

The GHRA 2015 is now travelling to Geneva to continue with archival research at the ICRC Archives.

Fabian Klose       Johannes Paulmann      Andrew Thompson

 ExeterIEGICRCghil

Humanitarianism & the Media

Haiti_E-Card_500x355

At St Antony’s College Oxford, the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow organizes a conference on humanitarianism and aid. The meeting takes place at the European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, on 19 -20 June 2015. It focuses on the media as an essential feature of the history of humanitarianism. Contributors discuss both the role of the media in humanitarian activities, and the imagery produced in print or on screen. Scholars from history, media studies, and anthropology present recent research with a view on the visual discourse, the meanings and materiality of the images since the beginning of the 20th century. Critically considering the medialisation of the humanitarian, they analyse the interaction between humanitarian agencies and media actors.

Speakers and topics:
(Detailed Programme Hum & Media 2015)

Johannes Paulmann (Oxford/ Mainz)
Introduction

I Humanitarian Imagery

Katharina Stornig (Mainz)
Promoting Distant Children in Need: Christian Imagery in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Rose Holmes (Sussex)
‘Make the situation real to us without stressing the horrors’: Children, photography and British humanitarianism in the Spanish Civil War

Daniel Palmieri (ICRC, Geneva)
Humanitarianism on the Screen: The ICRC Films from the 1920’s to the 1960’s

Continue reading

Conference: Does Human Rights Have a History?

Cross-posted from: https://humanrights.uchicago.edu/HistoryConference2015

About the Conference: Does human rights have a history? As late as 1998 not a single reference to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights had appeared in any article of the American Historical Review. But by 2006 the field had become prominent enough for the President of the American Historical Association to claim “we are all historians of human rights.” In this recent and very rapid development of the field, the fundamental premises of how we conceive of a history of human rights remain in flux and must be reconsidered:  when were “human rights” invented and what were the major stages of the evolution of their different elements? Rights talk emerged in early modern natural law theory, if not before, and played a famous role in early modern revolutions. But while humanitarian agendas sprouted throughout modern history, the international human rights regime began to take root only in the 1940s, and exploded to public prominence in the 1970s.

HistoryConferencePoster

Do we then tell the longue durée of human rights history as an evolutionary narrative or one of sharp disjunctures and discontinuities? There are also critical substantive issues that remain unresolved. What counts as human rights history? What rights at particular times and places have been seen as human rights and what has made them visible in those moments? What leads ordinary people to band together to found initiatives to monitor human rights violations? When and under what conditions have states propounded and conformed to crucial cosmopolitan norms? Are human rights a Western discourse or are they rooted in a broader array of geographical, gendered and cultural contexts?

This conference draws together leading historians of human rights working across time and space to address these urgent questions. In doing so it honors the contributions of Michael Geyer, Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History and the College and a founder of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago, to the field of human rights history and to the development of interdisciplinary studies of human rights thought and practice at the University of Chicago.

Faculty Organizers PFCHR Faculty Director Mark Philip Bradley, Jane Dailey, Emily Osborn, Amy Dru Stanley, and Tara Zahra

Additional Support The University of Chicago Library, Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES), Center for International Studies (CIS), Department of Anthropology, and Department of History

Conference Schedule See the presenter biographies here.

Continue reading

Wann ist Krieg gerechtfertigt? Das Problem des ‚bellum iustum‘ in historischer und systematischer Perspektive

Kolloquium der Professur für Neuere Geschichte (Westeuropa) an der

Helmut‐Schmidt‐Universität Hamburg am 23.‐24. März 2015, Hamburg

lm Mittelpunkt des Kolloquiums steht die Frage nach dem Spannungsverhältnis zwischen kriegsregulierenden Normen und bellizistischer Realität: lnwieweit haben die diversen moralischen bzw. rechtlichen Restriktionen erlaubter Kriegführung im Laufe der Geschichte das Ausmaß kriegerischer Gewalt reduziert? Hat die zunehmende Kriminalisierung des Krieges im 20. Jahrhundert diesen wirklich eingehegt oder lediglich neue Legitimationsstrategien entstehen lassen? Sind es am Ende vielleicht gar nicht so sehr normative Grundsätze als vielmehr ordnungspolitische, ökonomische u.a. Systemeigenschaften, welche den Grad binnen- bzw. zwischenstaatlicher Friedfertigkeit bestimmen?

Programm

Continue reading

Conference on Decolonization and Cold War Implications on War Crimes Trials in Asia, 1945-1954

Conference Report: “Rethinking Justice? Decolonization, Cold War, and Asian War Crimes Trials after 1945”, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Heidelberg (organizer: Dr. Kerstin von Lingenwww.transcultural-justice.uni-hd.de ), October 26-29, 2014

20141028_War_Crime_Trials_Lingen

The first day of the conference began on the evening of 26 October. Kerstin von Lingen, leader of JRG ‘Transcultural Justice’ and principal organizer of the conference, gave an introductory speech where she highlighted how war crimes trials in Asia offered a crucial legal, political, and moral-ideological watershed through which some of the initial contestations of decolonization and Cold War were played out. She argued that the trials should not be seen in isolation, but as part of this broader global politics, and also as an integral stage in the emergence of new universalistic norms of international humanitarian law. Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz) suggested that in spite of the emergence of these new norms, the traditional colonial powers (he took the specific examples of Britain and France) were reluctant to accept these standards, since their acceptance would have restricted the potential to use violent force to maintain domination in the colonies in Africa and Asia.

Continue reading

Conference: The Laws of War and Military Justice from 1700 to the Present

Venue: German Historical Institute Paris

Date: 14-16 January 2015

Organisation: Steffen Prauser (IHA) and Hanna Sonkajärvi (Universidad del Pais Vasco)

Conference Programme:

Wednesday 14th January 2015

14h30                Welcome and Registration

Thomas Maissen (Director of the IHA), Hanna Sonkajärvi (Universidad del País Vasco), Steffen Prauser (IHA),

15h00                Military Justice in the Early Modern Period

Sandro Wiggerich (Universität Münster), Why Military Justice? – History of an Argument

PD Dr. Markus Meumann (Universität Erfurt), Searching for the Origins of the Conseils de Guerre in Seventeenth Century France

Discussion followed by a coffee break

16h30                Family, Gender, and Eighteenth Century Military Justice

Maria Sjöberg (Gothenburg University), Family Matters and Military Justice in Eighteenth Century Wars

Marianna Muravyeva (Oxford Brookes University), Creating a Model Citizen: Sex Crimes and the Military in Eighteenth-Century Russia

Discussion followed by a leg stretch

18h00                Laws of War in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Renaud Morieux (Cambridge University), The Laws of War and the Laws of the Prison. French and British Prisoners of War in the Eighteenth Century

Jakob Zollmann (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung),  N.N.

Discussion Continue reading

Conference: Decolonization and the origins of ‘excessive’ violence

Decolonization and the origins of ‘excessive’ violence: Dutch military operations in Indonesia (1945-1950) in comparative perspective

10-12 December 2014 Leiden

Website

The conference is initiated by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and deals with the Indonesian decolonization war of 1945-1949. The aim in particular is to explore the occurrence of ‘excessive’ violence or (war crimes) during this conflict. In Dutch historiography there has been limited attention for the violent nature of these closing years of Dutch colonialism, while the possibility of Dutch war crimes remains a sensitive and under-explored subject. By way of a comparative approach – both diachronically and synchronically –  the goal is to achieve a better understanding of the role ‘excessive’ violence played during this conflict. We want to discuss how historians can further investigate this important but neglected period of (Dutch) colonial history.

Conference Programme: Continue reading

Conference Report “Humanitarianism and Changing Cultures of Cooperation”

Christine Unrau, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Centre for Global Cooperation
Research, Essen/Universität Köln
E-Mail: <unrau@gcr21.uni-due.de>

Humanitarianism – as a concept and as a practice – has become a major factor in world society: It channels an enormous amount of resources and serves as an argument for different kinds of interference into the “internal affairs” of a country. It is therefore a fertile testing ground for successful and unsuccessful cooperation across borders. At
the same time, humanitarian action is a form of cooperation that is rooted in cultures of gift-giving, even though they are sometimes exploited for strategic aims.

Against this backdrop, the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, in
cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities
(KWI), organized the conference “Humanitarianism and Changing Cultures
of Cooperation” from June 5-7, 2014. As suggested in the title, the aim
of the conference was to shed light both on humanitarianism, its
ambivalences and dilemmas, and its relevance for questions of global
cooperation.

Presenters came from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway,
Germany and Uganda. Among the speakers and audience there were both
junior researchers and internationally renowned scholars, some of them
with a long experience both as academics and practitioners.

Continue reading

Conference Panel “The Congress of Vienna and the Slave Trade – Religion, International Relations and Humanitarianism”

As described in one of my earlier posts the Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz successfully applied for the panel “The Congress of Vienna and the Slave Trade -Religion, International Relations and Humanitarianism” at the international conference “The Vienna Congress and Its Global Dimensions.”, which takes place from Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd September 2014 at the University of Vienna.

Here are the abstracts our today’s panel papers.

Introduction:

When evaluating the Congress of Vienna of 1814/15, historians traditionally concentrate on the negotiations to redraw the political map of Europe and on the establishment of an order meant to ensure peace on the continent in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. However, the implications of the congress went far beyond the European scope and were directly linked to manifold global issues such as the trans-Atlantic slave trade, one of the burning issues of the time. By signing the “Déclaration des 8 Cours, relative à l’Abolition Universelle de la Traite des Nègres” on 8 February 1815 the representatives of the major European powers established for the first time in history a humanitarian norm in international law. The aim of the proposed panel is to investigate the miscellaneous entanglements of this norm-setting process by focusing on the role of religion and religious actors, emerging humanitarianism, international relations and the impact of abolition on the process of Latin-American independence.

Slavetrade

Continue reading