Natalie Klein-Kelly, DOT TO DOT: Exploring humanitarian activities in the early Nineteenth Century

Natalie Klein-Kelly, Fellow of the GHRA 2017

DOT TO DOT: Exploring humanitarian activities in the early Nineteenth Century through tracing prehistories of the Red Cross Movement in Geneva

Histories of humanitarianism often cite two specific examples of nineteenth century humanitarianism: the latter parts of slave abolition movements and the founding of the Red Cross in Geneva in 1863. Besides these, particularly for the early part of the century, specific examples of humanitarian activities remain rare, with general references to philanthropic as well as social and religious reform movements prevailing. I would like to argue here that this is because humanitarian endeavours in the early Nineteenth Century in Europe and North America developed in local contexts, making it difficult and cumbersome to join the various ʿdotsʾ of humanitarian activities that existed. By linking such ʿdotsʾ – like doing children’s ʿdot to dotʾ drawing, hence the title of this blog post – a more precise picture of early humanitarianism might emerge. This blog post will demonstrate the benefits of such an approach though two concrete examples: the connections between the founding of the Red Cross Movement and an early foreign aid movement 40 years earlier, both in the locality of Geneva.

The first ʿgroup of dotsʾ concerns the philhellenic activities undertaken by private Geneva citizens in the course of the 1820s in support of the Greeks in their War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. To be precise, two different Geneva Greek Committees were set up, the first active in 1822-1823, and a second founded in 1825 and active until the Battle of Navarino in October 1827. The leading force in the latter Committee was the wealthy Geneva citizen, Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1772-1863), who had been to the Vienna Congress a few years earlier. He was joined by 26 others, including the writers and politicians J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi (1773-1842) and Etienne Dumont (1759-1829). This second Committee used the donations collected in Geneva and elsewhere to send shiploads of food and ammunition to support the fighting Greeks. These shipments were accompanied by representatives of the Committee, including the doctor, Louis-André Gosse (1801-1873). To stress, the label ‘humanitarian’ only partly fits these foreign aid undertakings, particularly given the military support and the parallel developmental focus that can be found.

The second ʿdotsʾ is better known: the 1863 founding of the Red Cross Movement initiated by five Geneva citizens including Henri Dunant (1828-1910), Gustav Moynier (1826-1910), General Guillaume-Henri Dufour (1787-1875), and Dr Louis Appia (1818-1889). Having witnessed the suffering of wounded soldiers in the battle of Solferino in 1859, the Geneva businessman Dunant published a pamphlet calling for international action to ensure care and protection of wounded soldiers and their helpers. The young Geneva lawyer Moynier, an acquaintance of Dunant, took this idea to the Geneva Society for Public Utility, whose president at this time was Dufour. Here, a sub-committee to implement Dunant’s ideas was formed, leading to the first international conference held in Geneva in 1863.

While nearly 40 years apart, these two ʿgroups of dotsʾ have specific links. An early type of photograph exists of the two key protagonists, Eynard and Dunant, dating from the early 1850s.

Jean-Gabriel Eynard in the middle and Henry Dunant at the left, Bibliotheque de Geneve.

Eynard was an early enthusiast of daguerreotypes, taking a few hundred in the 1840s and 1850s, generally of his extended family. Dunant was a friend of Ernest de Traz (1830-1900), also on this daguerreotype, a great-nephew of Eynard. De Traz and Dunant commenced religious meetings of young men in the late 1840s, leading to the formation of the “Union Chrétienne des Jeunes Gens de Geneva” in the early 1850s. In addition, occasional correspondence between Dunant and Eynard’s wife, Anna Eynard Lullin (1793-1868) has survived, for example regarding her support for the 1863 Red Cross conference (BPU Ms 2109 f. 57, 179). Eynard’s son-in-law and nephew, Charles Eynard-Eynard (1808-1876) also corresponded with Dunant throughout the 1860s (ibid., f. 6, 288, 296 etc.). Charles Eynard appears to have been close to Dunant through their joint religious affiliation to the ‘Reveil’, the Geneva evangelist movement of the mid-century (BPU Ms fr 2115 H).

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International Conference: Humanitarianism and Charity. Expressions of or Alternatives to Socioeconomic Rights?

Convenors: Fabian Klose (Mainz), Claudia Stein (Warwick), Charles Walton (Warwick)
Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz
Date: September 28 – 29, 2017
Information: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/ghcc/research/serhn

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.
At this international conference at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, as part of the Leverhulme International Network ‘Rights, Duties and the Politics of Obligation: Socioeconomic Rights in History’, international scholars discuss the history of socioeconomic rights from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. In particular, they focus on the complex relationship between a discourse on socioeconomic rights and debates about humanitarianism and charity thus seeking to connect these two important fields of research. In this context the leading questions are: How has humanitarianism and charity figured within the rhetoric of rights? How have the politics of obligation differed between voluntary and rights-based approaches to dealing with socio-economic crises and deprivations? How have states and NGO’s tried to balance providing for urgent needs with the more long-term development of a rights-based approach upheld by the sovereign state?

Program

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2:00pm-2:30pm Fabian Klose (Mainz), Claudia Stein (Warwick), and Charles Walton (Warwick), Welcome and Introduction

2:30-3:30pm Keynote Lecture I:
Michael Barnett (Washington), ‘Humanitarianism and Socio-Economic Rights: Look, But Don’t Touch’

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Call for Applications: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy 2018

Drs Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson are pleased to announce that the Call for Applications for the fourth Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2018 is now open, with a deadline of 31 December 2017.

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: 9-20 July 2018
Deadline: 31 December 2017

Information at: http://ghra.ieg-mainz.de/, http://hhr.hypotheses.org/ and http://imperialglobalexeter.com/

The international GLOBAL HUMANITARIANISM | RESEARCH ACADEMY (GHRA) offers research training to 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 is for 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.

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GHRA fellow Sam de Schutter on “Disability, development and humanitarianism”

Cross-posted from: http://rethinkingdisability.net/disability-development-and-humanitarianism-the-global-humanitarianism-research-academy/

Today “the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war”, the UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs recently declared. This statement shows that humanitarianism is very much alive today, but that it apparently also has a history. But why am I writing about that on a blog related to the history of disability? That is because I participated in the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA), organized by the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the University of Exeter, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over the span of two weeks in July, spent both in Mainz and Geneva, this event brought together thirteen scholars from all over the world working on issues related to humanitarianism, international humanitarian law and human rights. I was lucky to be one of them, and got inspired to write this short blog about it.

So what was I doing there? My research is on the history of development interventions by UN agencies, aimed at people with disabilities in Tanzania and Kenya. I can certainly relate my subject to human rights, being part of a project that aims at unravelling how disability rose to the mainstream of international human rights discourses. But humanitarianism? I must admit that I did not have a clear idea about what humanitarianism entails before I joined this academy. During the two weeks of discussions and lectures however, it soon became clear that maybe no one has, or at least that different people have very different ideas about it. Certain themes and concepts nonetheless consistently appear throughout different writings on the history of humanitarianism, and I can certainly relate my own research to them: fostering sympathy across borders, mobilizing people through transnational organizations, lobbying for state interventions, and especially the relief of ‘the suffering of distant others’. It thus became clear that looking at my research through the lens of humanitarianism might be a fruitful exercise. I was however equally intrigued by the questions whether and what a disability perspective could contribute to the history of humanitarianism. It was mainly during the second week of the academy that I started to formulate a preliminary answer to these questions.
It is really this second week that sets the GHRA apart from any other, more traditional ‘summer school’. We spent this week in Geneva, mainly at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). There was a mixture of lectures by senior ICRC staff members and research time, spent either in the ICRC archives, the library or any of the other international archives that Geneva has to offer. Since the ICRC has only opened its archives until 1976, I focused on the collections held at the library and at the audiovisual archives. There, I discovered the history of the ICRC’s involvement with disability, a history that points us to the unique perspective disability can offer to the history of humanitarianism.

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Report Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2017

The 3nd Global Humanitarianism Research Academy at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva

GHRA 2017 at the Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz

The GHRA 2017 took place from July 10 to 21, 2017 at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. It was 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.

The GHRA 2017 had thirteen fellows (nine PhD candidates, four Postdocs) selected in a highly competitive application process. They came from Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the USA.  They represented a range of disciplinary approaches from International History, Politics, International Relations, and International Law. The Research Academy was joined by ESTHER MÖLLER (Leibniz Institute of European History) as well as JEAN-LUC BLONDEL (formerly of the ICRC) and MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter).

First Week: On Day One, recent research and fundamental concepts of global humanitarianism and human rights 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.

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Exchange Ships: A Paradigm in Global Diplomacy by Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch

Cross-posted from https://swiss-diplo.ch/projekt/exchange-ships/

Research Project by Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch

Swiss Diplomacy of «Good Offices» in Asia during World War II

In diplomatic history, the so called «good offices’ diplomacy» is a well-known but still under-investigated characteristic instrument of Swiss diplomacy. Historiography usually understands practices of mediation as related to cases of emergency. Most notably, they are utilized when diplomatic relations have ended under the conditions of war. From such a moment onward, war parties depend on the mediation of a neutral third party when bilateral questions arise which require some form of negotiations. This approach is useful for understanding intergovernmental communication during wars. However, this project uses the practices of Swiss mediation in Asia during World War II in a different way: it argues that the practice of «good offices» serves as an analytical lens to elucidate the development and impact of global expertise. Following this approach, we emphasize that Swiss mediation presented an opportunity to overstep formal bilateral conversations between warring parties based on normative diplomatic rules.

This approach creates three newly shaped research perspectives:

Most of the Swiss diplomatic representatives were local residents. Therefore, they were part of the community of foreigners who came under pressure during Japanese occupation. Through the eyes of the Swiss representatives, the complex networks of fugitives, foreigners, prisoners, and allies in its various forms of (dis)entanglement gain visibility in global history. At the end of World War II, Switzerland had become the representative of an immense variety of states on a global scale. The transformation of these multi-layered networks from documenting colonialism into forced migration under the condition of war allows to critically ask about concepts of transculturality and transformations of colonial societies.

The Swiss practice of «good offices» appear as consequence of an early industrialized and export-oriented society. The early presence of Swiss in Asia left their imprints in form of a specific understanding of global presence, demands of markets, and expertise, documenting global opportunities of small and neutral states in the wake of great powers. In this research project, this approach is discussed with the metaphor of Switzerland as a «global nation».

We argue that the new reading of the Swiss «good offices» unfolds hidden parts of the global history of World War II. One of the most spectacular but little-known activities during the war in the Pacific gets into view: the exchange of «enemy nationals» through neutral ships. These exchange activities offer a crucial and new understanding of the question to what extent the multiple layers of globality shaped the theatre of war with long lasting consequences for the postwar period.

Exchange operations

During World War II, the warring parties imprisoned civilians whom they declared as «enemy nationals» in internment camps in Asia, Europe, and the US. From 1942 onwards, a number of complex agreements between the warring parties resulted in activities of «repatriation».. Such activities aimed to include diplomatic personnel, but mainly civilians. Some of them had lived over years in places which now were called «abroad» in reference to their nationality, although the expressions «enemy alien» and «repatriation» did not correspond to the people’s self-understanding. In many cases, the «repatriation» was an act of forced migration. It took place on ships which were especially chartered for this purpose. Marked with the emblem of the ICRC and sometimes even more explicitly with the word «diplomat» at the long side, the ships started in American, British and Asian ports and travelled for the so-called exchange to Portuguese neutral ports in Goa or Mozambique. A Swiss representative was always on board, observing the negotiated conditions of exchange – e.g. the checking of passengers’ lists, the handling of luggage, freight, and money. Since the Swiss delegates received all information from both sides, the source material available in Swiss Archives allows a unique view into one of the most spectacular, but under-investigated operations the Pacific War had to offer.

Ships as neutral space: The example of the Teia Maru

© ICRC. Rapatriement des ressortissants américains sur

«Teia Maru», navire japonais de 15’000 tonnes (Shanghai).

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CROSS-files: New Blog of ICRC Archives

The Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva has created the new blog CROSS-files! This blog aims at promoting the contents of the rich audiovisual archives, library collections, general archives and what the ICRC calls the “Agency Archives”. This great collection of books, sound recordings, films, videos and photos illustrate and document the activities of the ICRC from the end of the 19th century up to the present day. These archives and library have been continually expanded over more than 150 years and today represent a significant heritage in the field of humanitarian law and action. It is a fantastic resource for all researchers working in the entangled fields of the history of humanitarianism and peace and conflict studies!

Furthermore, there is also the new ICRC Archives facebook account, where you can find additional material regarding the archives.

Enjoy exploring the rich history of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its archives!

CfP: Humanitarianism and the Remaking of International Law: History, Ideology, Practice, Technology

Cross-posted from: http://www.lpil.org/events/humanitarianism

Conference
Thu, May 31, 2018, 9:00am –
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 5:00pm

Danang. Réfugiés s’étant organisés dans la cour de l’école. Photographer: Michel Schroeder, ICRC Archive

Call for Papers: Deadline 1 September 2017

The language and logic of humanitarianism occupy an increasingly central place in international law. Humanitarian reason has shaped the ideology, practice, and technologies of international law over the past century, including through the redescription of the laws of war as international humanitarian law, the framing of mass displacement and armed conflict as ‘humanitarian’ crises, the use of humanitarian justifications for intervention, occupation, and detention, and the representation of international law as an expression of the conscience of humanity.

For some, this trend is clearly positive – international law is reimagined as humanity’s law, humanity as the alpha and omega of international law. Yet critics have pointed to the dark side of these developments and of the humanitarian logic operating within international law, arguing that consolidation of the laws of war has served the interests of powerful groups and states at key moments of potential challenge to existing systems of rule, humanitarianism has been taken up as a language to rationalise the violence of certain forms of occupation, intervention, and warfare, international humanitarian law has displaced other more constraining forms of law as the world becomes imagined as a global battlefield, humanitarian NGOs have served as a fifth column that has enabled particular forms of social transformation and constrained others, and a supposedly impartial humanitarianism has displaced politics.

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“On site, in time”: Chios by Fabian Klose

Regarding our new IEG open access publication “On site, in time” here is my article on the island of Chios, in which I focus on the massacre of Chios in 1822 and its impact on international interventionism.

Cross-posted from: http://en.ieg-differences.eu/on-site-in-time/fabian-klose-chios/

The Massacre of Chios in 1822 (constellations)

During the year 1822, European capitals were inundated with reports about a massacre of the Christian population of Chios. The island, a few kilometres from the mainland of Asia Minor in the eastern Aegean, and the supposed birthplace of the ancient poet Homer, had become the scene of one of the bloodiest episodes of the Greek War of Independence. At the time, Greece belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Starting in March 1821, an armed uprising against the rule of the Sultan emerged in different places in Greece. In the reconquest of Chios in April 1822, Ottoman troops operated with extreme brutality. They pillaged and plundered the Greek settlements, murdering in the process an estimated 25,000 residents and abducting more 45,000 to the slave markets of the Ottoman Empire. While the Greek independence movement itself relied on merciless warfare and likewise perpetrated a series of massacres of the Muslim population, the European reporting concentrated almost exclusively on the Ottoman atrocities against the Christian population.

Such messages inspired the French painter Eugène Delacroix to create the historical painting “The Massacre of Chios.”[1] Presented to a wider public for the first time in 1824 during the Parisian salons, it also caused a great sensation beyond the borders of France. The emotionally charged depiction of the Greeks, who had been at the mercy of the Ottoman soldiery, drew on a humanitarian narrative that had already more or less developed in the course of the campaigns against the slave trade. With his visualization of suffering, Delacroix intended to arouse the concern and sympathy of the viewers for the fate of the Greeks and thereby to mobilize political support for the Greek struggle for independence.

Eugène Delacroix, Le Massacre de Scio, oil/canvas, 1824

Europe’s solidarity and the stigmatization of the Ottoman Empire (differences)

The events on Chios provoked (not least thanks to Delacroix’ painting) a sense of outrage throughout Europe and a feeling of solidarity with the Greek striving for freedom virtually throughout the entire continent. The Philhellenism, which originated in the late 18th century from a cultural enthusiasm  for ancient Greece, now took on tremendous political relevance in the wake of the reporting on the massacre. Philhellenic committees – initially in German speaking countries, then in France and Great Britain as well as other European countries – began to form to recruit volunteers to fight in Greece, to collect funds for the insurgents, and, in general, to mobilize public Support. Continue reading

Third GHRA, 10-21 July 2017

 

In about a week the third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz 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.

The GHRA received a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than nineteen different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2017:

Luís Paulo Bogliolo is a doctoral candidate with the Laureate Program in International Law at the University of Melbourne (Australia). He holds an LLM in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA Law from the University of Brasília. He has been a lecturer at the University of Brasília, Coordinator of Regulation in the Department of Intellectual Rights at the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, and Law Clerk at the High Court of Brazil. His thesis is entitled Bombing Civilians: Aerial Warfare and Distinction in the History of International Law.

Jenny Chapman completed a BA (Hons) in Historical studies and Religious studies with Comparative religion, and an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response at the University of Manchester. She was awarded an ESRC- funded Case Studentship with the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at the University of Manchester in 2015. Her PhD project investigates the British Medical Humanitarian sector between the years of 1988- 2014 and is co-supervised by HCRI and the Humanitarian Affairs Team in Save the Children UK. Jenny is particularly interested in role that history can play in offering a reflective and analytical insight into the humanitarian System.

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What Does it Mean to Act with Humanity?

Cross-posted from imperialglobalexeter

Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin (eds.), Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016. 324 pp. £75 (hardback), ISBN: 9783525101452

Reviewed by Ben Holmes (University of Exeter)

What does it mean to belong to the human race? Does this belonging bring with it particular rights as well as responsibilities? What does it mean to act with humanity? These are some of the big questions lying at the heart of a new edited collection from Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present (2016). Based on a 2015 conference at the Leibniz Institute in Mainz, the book, as the title suggests, is not a purely conceptual history of the term ‘humanity’.[1] Rather it looks to discover ‘the concrete implications of theoretical discourses on the concept of humanity’ [page 18]. In other words, how did ideas of ‘humanity’ guide European practices in areas like humanism, imperialism, international law, humanitarianism, and human rights?[2] The editors argue that despite the implied timeless, universal nature of the term, humanity is both a changing, dynamic concept, and has been prone to create divisions as much as it promotes commonality. Although the volume is a study of European conceptions of humanity, the contributions are transnational, displaying how conceptions of humanity were practiced in Europe and in the continent’s interactions with the wider world over the course of five-hundred years.

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Antonio Donini on “The crisis of multilateralism and the future of humanitarian action”

Regarding recent developments in international politics Antonio Donini has published an interesting piece on the crisis of multilateralism and the consequences for humanitarian action on Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN).

Here is his opinion on the topic “The crisis of multilateralism and the future of humanitarian action”

irin

Antonio Donini is Research Associate at the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of Global Migration and also senior researcher at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. He has worked for 26 years in the United Nations in research, evaluation, and humanitar­ian capacities. His last post was as Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (1999-2002).

Reminder: Call for Application GHRA 2017 open until December 31, 2016

Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson would like to remind that the Call for Applications for the third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2017 is still open, with a deadline of 31 December 2016.

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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:                     

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:          http://ghra.ieg-mainz.de/

ExeterIEGICRCghil

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New ICRC Publication: From Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City

Jean Luc Blondel, From Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City. The ICRC’s Work and Transformation from 1966 to 1975.

From 1966 to 1975, the ICRC criss-crossed the globe to provide humanitarian assistance during many of the major events of the decade, including the Viet Nam War, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East, the military coups in Greece and Chile, the Portuguese withdrawal from its colonies in southern Africa, and the first visits by ICRC delegates to Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.

Drawing on archives recently opened to the public, this study provides a broad chronological and geographic overview of the ICRC’s activities during this period, and traces the development of its policy on visits to political.

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It also provides an account of the ICRC’s work aimed at further developing international law – leading to the adoption of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions – and helps the reader to understand how the ICRC, whose work had initially been limited to providing ad hoc relief in emergency situations, became an increasingly professional organization, capable of managing major operations at any given moment, anywhere in the world.

This book provides an ideal springboard for more in-depth research in the ICRC archives, and encourages readers to reflect on a key period in world history.

New Book: Humanity. A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present

This edited volume investigates the development of the concepts and practices of “humanity” from the sixteenth century to the present. By choosing a longue-durée approach the book analyzes how shifting concepts of humanity shaped various practices and at the same time how ideas themselves were informed by these practices in the course of four hundred years. As humanity is evoked in a remarkable array of themes, the contributors deliberately focus on issues such as humanism, colonial expansion and imperialism, missions, abolitionism, international humanitarian law, humanitarianism, human rights, charity and philanthropy. In their understanding, these are crucial arenas, in which concepts and practices of humanity were sustainably shaped, defined, questioned and reconfigured. While there are a huge number of individual studies on each theme, the book seeks to connect these various fields and analyze their entanglements under the overarching theme of the idea of humanity.

Humanity

Accordingly, the volume regards the notion of humanity not as static and related only to one specific century, but as a dynamic concept, which emerged in the course of several centuries. One of the central aims is to show its procedural and evolutionary character with all its ambiguities and inconsistencies in the context of Europe itself as well as the continent’s relation to the wider world. Beyond Europe, the volume covers another three different geographical regions – namely Africa, America, and Asia, thus seeking to combine methodologically European history with approaches of transnational and global history.

Being aware of the multidimensional character of the topic and underlining the enrichment of research from different perspectives, the book adopts an interdisciplinary approach. Beyond doubt in the debates around the idea of humanity, religion played a remarkable role. Jewish, Catholic as well as Protestant teaching shaped the notion in many significant ways. It served for various actors such as philosophers, reformists, missionaries, abolitionists, and legal scholars frequently as a fundamental source for inspiring their theories and influencing their action. For this reason, theologians and historians in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Switzerland provide, for the first time together, innovative perspectives on the European concepts of humanity in practice. Thus, the book promotes an integrative approach to the theme by combining not only different geographical regions but also various historical epochs and academic disciplines in a single volume.

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