Call for Papers: Women, Gender Roles and Humanitarian Aid in the Greater War (1912-1925)

24-25 June 2020, University Foundation (Brussels)

Female-centred humanitarian aid has gained traction in recent years. In 2016, the UN Population Fund stated that ‘to succeed in building a more stable world, leaders will have to address the needs and protect the rights of affected women and girls, and incorporate their leadership and knowledge into all plans.’ In response, humanitarian agencies have launched a number of initiatives that empower girls through education, create cash-for-work programs for women and localise long-term aid in communities through female involvement.

While these issues might seem new and timely, women have shaped humanitarian agendas for more than a century. In the era of World War One, when Europe was also a recipient of help, numerous international aid organisations such as the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children tried to combat poverty, illness and trauma through the education and participation of European girls, women and mothers. The international, national and local civilian aid programs were often carried out by women. Female volunteers (society ladies and nobility members) laboured alongside professionals (home economists, nutritionists, nurses, physicians, social workers and librarians). These relief workers struggled with some of the same challenges humanitarian workers face today: how to reach crisis-affected civilians and particularly women in the private sphere of the home? How, when and where are traditional gender roles maintained, reinforced or disrupted by helping women and employing female humanitarian workers? How to push forward, fundraise for and carry out female oriented humanitarian projects in male dominated organisations and societies?

The two-day conference Women, Gender Roles and Humanitarian Aid in the Greater War will examine these and other questions by looking at the specific humanitarian programs for women and girls in Europe during and after the First World War. We look for contributions that analyse the nature of the programs by and/or for women and girls – both internationally and locally. We especially welcome presentations that go beyond Western Europe. It is envisaged that a selection of conference papers will be published in a special issue.  

Continue reading

CfP: Law in Transnational Spaces. Cross-border Biographies in Legal History in the 19th and 20th Century

Writing transnational history comes with its own set of unique requirements. It is challenging to construct a coherent narrative out of the numerous factors involved. A biographical approach is one possibility to operationalize research on transnational networks and institutions. Biographies reveal individuals’ assumptions and attitudes, help contextualize their debates and explain the historical change of norms in their local context.

This also applies to legal histories investigating interactions, entanglements and the circulation of legal knowledge across national borders. The history of international law is incomplete without transnational actors shaping it. Most prominently, recent scholarship has engaged with the question how émigré jurists (most of them Jewish) have influenced the development of international criminal and human rights law in the mid-twentieth century. This has opened up new perspectives on how the individual experience of exile and juridical concepts have influence each other.

Transnational actors were not only significant on the international level, but developed a domestic momentum as well. Transnational reform movements have influenced the discourse on national criminal law. Zooming in on the individuals who shaped these discussions in transnational settings helps to complicate narratives about the seemingly progressive juridification and humanisation of international relations. It reveals the actors’ complex and sometimes even competing interests and underlying ideas about law. This enables research analysing actors’ positions in structures of power as well as gender and race relations.

The workshop “Law in Transnational Spaces” on 19 and 20 March 2020, in Berlin invites junior researchers to critically engage with actor-centred approaches in transnational legal history, in particular biographies. It offers the opportunity to discuss research projects that use a biographical lens. More specifically, the following questions might be tackled in the papers:

  • What methodological challenges result from a biographical approach to transnational legal history?
  • Were transnational legal networks a resource for people who came from what was perceived as “periphery”, or did they manifest existing power dynamics?
  • What influence did transnational networks have on women engaging in legal debates?
  • What resources did émigré lawyers have to participate in transnational discussions and legal networks and shape the history of law?

The workshop is part of the research project “The London Moment”, funded by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Papers should be based on original material and 20 minutes in length. Accommodation during the workshop and travel expenses within Europe will be covered within reasonable limits. Interested scholars are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words and a short CV to by 31 January 2020.

CfA Travel Grants Herrenhausen Conference 2020 “Governing Humanitarianism: Past, Present and Future”



for Early Career Researchers and Young Professionals

Deadline: March 15, 2020

Apply here:

The Topic

Humanitarian organisations across the globe face growing challenges in delivering aid, securing funds and maintaining public confidence. Trade-offs between sovereignty, democracy, security, development, identity, and human rights have become highly complex. The Herrenhausen Conference ‘Governing Humanitarianism’ interrogates present issues and future directions for global humanitarian governance in relation to its pasts. It asks if humanitarian expansion has come at the expense of core values and effective intervention, and how the pursuit of global equity and social justice can be pursued through shifting global and local power structures. The conference features six key themes: Humanitarianism as Global Networks and Activism; Gendering Humanitarianism; Humanitarianism and International Law; Humanitarian Political and Moral Economies; Media and Humanitarianism; Humanitarianism, Development and Global Human Rights.

Travel Grants Available

Herrenhausen Palace, the venue of the Herrenhausen Conference on “Governing Humanitarianism”

The Volkswagen Foundation offers travel grants for early career researchers (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers up to 5 years since PhD) or young professionals in humanitarian sectors. Applicants can win one of 30 grants to take part in the Herrenhausen Conference ‘Governing Humanitarianism’ in Hanover, Germany, on September 13-15, 2020. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to engage in collaborative, interdisciplinary discussions of key issues shaping the past, present and future of humanitarianism and to produce ‘best practice’ statements on how academics and practitioners can work together to tackle these issues. The grants include travel expenses to Hanover, visa fees (if applicable), and accommodation in Hanover. To apply, please complete the form before March 15, 2020:

Your application should contain the following

  • As an academic: An abstract of your research project with your research question, method, results and outlook, research partners and thesis advisors
  • As a young professional: A description of the project or the initiative you are engaging in and your role within this, explaining subjects, agenda, goals and activities
  • A statement which benefits you expect from taking part in the symposium
  • A short CV


Participants will be selected by the steering committee. Acceptance will be based on qualification of the applicant as well as relevance, originality of the research project/initiative and potential to meet the goals of the conference. We will inform the applicants about the results in May 2020.


Detailed program:

Queries: Please contact Jeana Thilla, Volkswagen Foundation, at

CfA IEG Fellowships for Doctoral Students

Application deadline: February 15, 2020
For IEG Fellowships beginning in September 2020 or later

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards 8–10 fellowships for international doctoral students in European history, the history of religion, historical theology, or other historical disciplines.

The IEG funds PhD projects on European history from the early modern period until 1989/90. We are particularly interested in projects

  • with a comparative or cross-border approach,
  • on European history in its relation to the wider world, or
  • on topics of intellectual and religious history.

What we offer

The IEG Fellowships provide a unique opportunity to pursue your individual PhD project while living and working for 6–12 months at the Institute in Mainz. The monthly stipend is € 1,350. Additionally, you can apply for family or child allowance.


During the fellowship you are required to reside at the Institute in Mainz. You actively participate in the IEG’s research community, the weekly colloquia and scholarly activities. We expect you to present your work at least once during your fellowship. The IEG preferably supports the writing up of dissertations; it will not provide funding for preliminary research, language courses or the revision of book manuscripts. PhD theses continue to be supervised under the auspices of the fellows’ home universities. We expect proficiency in English and a sufficient command of German to participate in discussions at the Institute. The IEG encourages applications from women.


Please combine all of your application materials except for the application form into a single PDF and send your application to
Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly by the referees. You may write in either English or German; we recommend that you use the language in which you are most proficient.

You can download the application form under the following:

The IEG has two deadlines each year for IEG Fellowships: February 15 and August 15.
The next deadline for applications is February 15, 2020.

Please direct your questions concerning the IEG Fellowship Programme to
Barbara Müller:

Please also visit our website  

CfA Worlds of Social Policies: Local and Global Dimensions of Change Since 1945

6-7 February 2020, Lisbon, Portugal

Organization: Research project Worlds of (Under)Development: processes and legacies of the Portuguese colonial empire in a comparative perspective (1945-1975), Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Keynotes: Sandrine Kott (University of Geneva) and Joseph Hodge (West Virginia University)

Scientific Committee:

Joana Brites (University of Coimbra)

Cláudia Castelo (University of Coimbra)

Philip Havik (New University of Lisbon)

Joseph Hodge (West Virginia University)

Steven Jensen (Danish Institute for Human Rights)

Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo (University of Coimbra)

Alexander Keese (University of Geneva)

Sandrine Kott (University of Geneva)

Damiano Matasci (University of Geneva)

José Pedro Monteiro (University of Coimbra)

Call for papers:

Prolonging and reinventing dynamics visible in the interwar period, one of the most salient processes associated with the aftermath of the Second World War was the internationalisation of arguments, debates, norms and policies dealing with social issues. The tentative definition and implementation of standards and policies aiming at human welfare, through the (re)distribution of and access to goods and resources, increasingly included international and transnational actors and expertise. The League of Nations had already promoted social policies in the fields of rural development, public health, labour, the protection of minorities, human trafficking and child welfare, but the range of topics being debated “internationally” would be greatly expanded after 1945. The emergence and consolidation of the United Nations, and its various specialised agencies, contributed to that process, creating platforms for cooperation and exchanges, and for disputes, between international (including imperial and colonial), transnational and national experts. The UN system fostered or expanded existing networks, which promoted the production, accumulation and circulation of different types of expertise. As a result, it standardised and perfected statistical tools while developing major doctrines of social engineering and specialised forms of local intervention in a global context. Thus, rethinking and planning societal change became a “hot topic”, and a subject of heightened competition during the Cold War. Heterogenous visions of “modernity” related to early Cold War dynamics had a direct bearing upon policies introduced by modernising colonial empires and post-colonial projects of state-building and found expression in the implementation of large-scale developmental schemes. Continue reading

Report of the Fifth GHRA (2019)

Academic Conveners: Fabian Klose (University of Cologne), Johannes Paulmann (IEG Mainz), Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)

Date: 07.07.2019-19.07.2019, Mainz / Geneva

The fifth edition of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) took place at the Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz and the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva from July 7 to 19, 2019. It approached cutting-edge research regarding 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. With the Chair in International History and Historical Peace and Conflict Studies at the Department of History of the University of Cologne, a new partner joined the GHRA 2019. As in the last four years the organizers FABIAN KLOSE (University of Cologne), JOHANNES PAULMANN (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), and ANDREW THOMPSON (University of Exeter) received again a large number of excellent applications from more than twenty different countries around the world. Eventually the conveners selected eleven fellows (nine PhD candidates, two Postdocs) from Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The multitude of disciplinary approaches from International Law, Political Science, and Medicine proved to be very rewarding just as the participation of guest lecturer CLAUS KREß (University of Cologne), visiting fellow JULIA IRWIN (University of South Florida, Tampa) as well as STACEY HYND (University of Exeter) and MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter) as long-standing members of the academic team.

First Week: After the intense discussion of a previously prepared reading list on Day One, the Second Day was reserved entirely for the presentations und discussion of the participants’ projects. The range of studies on historical forms of humanitarianism and human rights encouraged a productive atmosphere of exchange, critique and pondering among the peers. Concretely, the topics presented encompassed the history of humanitarian aid in authoritarian states and the comparison of projects of Oxfam and Médecins sans Frontières from the 1970s to 1990s (MARIA CULLEN); a longue durée view of displacement and hospitality in an African borderland (Uganda/South Sudan) by conceptualizing languages of aid and lands of refuge (MITCHELL EDWARDS); a glance on new colonial challenges in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1976) and the role of international intervention and humanitarian assistance in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique (ANA FILIPA GUARDIÃO); the history of psychiatry in refugee camps dealing with uprooting, trauma and confinement in various case studies from the 1940s onwards (BAHER IBRAHIM); an interdisciplinary historical legal investigation of international humanitarian law in the Republic of Cyprus from 1963 until 1971 in light of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (NADIA KORNIOTI); an ‘imperial’ history of the Salvation Army’s overseas settlements and colonies between 1890 and 1939 (ADAM MILLAR); the role of international humanitarian relief and local female aid in counter-insurgency warfare in Kenya 1952-1960 (BETHANY REBISZ); a multifaceted history of refugee politics, foreign aid, and the emergence of American humanitarianism in the early twentieth century (KYLE ROMERO); the legal history of slave trade suppression and the reimagining of peace in 19th century international law with a focus on dynamics between Britain and slave-based Latin-American states (ADRIANE SANCTIS DE BRITO); a history of disaster, recovery, and humanitarianism focussing on the Japanese Red Cross Society between 1877 and 1945 (MICHIKO SUZUKI); the scale of a humanitarian turn in the BBC External Services and the benevolence of British internationalism from 1965 to 1995 (STEPHEN WESTLAKE).

Continue reading

CfA Research Fellowships in Global History, Winter Term 2020/21

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, one of the leading research universities in Europe, with a more than 500-year-long tradition, is advertising up to five research fellowships for scholars active in global history. The university is committed to the highest international standards of excellence in research and teaching. Fellows will be based at the interdisciplinary Munich Centre for Global History. During their stay, they will work on a research project in global history or its neighbouring fields. Fellows have no teaching obligation. They are expected to actively engage with the scholarly community at the university and particularly at the centre.

The fellowships are open to postdoctoral researchers from all disciplines. Scholars who are already advanced in their academic careers and have a strong international track record are explicitly encouraged to apply. Depending on the situation of the applicant and the character of the project, the duration of the fellowship will be between one and three months. Fellowships for the winter term 2020/21 should be taken up between mid-October 2020 and the end of February 2021.

The fellowship entails economy travel to and from Munich, a monthly living allowance, free housing in a furnished studio apartment in Munich as well as office space at the Munich Centre for Global History. Health insurance or other social benefits are not part of the fellowship and the responsibility of the fellow.

Applications will include a letter of motivation, a short outline of the research to be done during the fellowship (1-2 pages) and a CV. Please also include information as to the preferred time and duration of the fellowship. All application material should be send electronically as one PDF-file to Dr Susanne Hohler ( until 30 November 2019.

Enquiries should also be directed to Dr Hohler or to the centre’s founding director Professor Roland Wenzlhuemer ( More information on the Munich Centre for Global History can be found at\globalhistory.

CfP: Joint Mainz-Oxford-Graduate Workshop: “European History across Boundaries from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century”

Academy Conveners: Sarah Panter (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz) and Lyndal Roper (University of Oxford)

Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz

Date: 1–3 April 2020

Deadline for Applications: 15 October 2019

The Leibniz Institute of European History at Mainz, Germany, and the University of Oxford, Faculty of History, invite international Ph.D. students to a workshop on European history across boundaries from the 16th to the 20th century, including Europe’s relations with the world. We encourage researchers working in this field to present their Ph.D. projects and to discuss the transcultural and transnational scope of their findings in a stimulating environment. Topics that aim to cross and reflect boundaries and borders are of particular interest. Projects can employ a variety of methodical approaches such as comparative studies, the study of transfer processes and entanglements, or the histoire croisée. The location of the joint workshop alternates annually between Mainz and Oxford. In 2020, the workshop will take place in Mainz.

At the workshop, we will discuss pre-circulated papers based on archival research (max. 8,000 words, written in English, to be submitted by 1 March 2020). Accommodation for the duration of the workshop and a contribution to travel expenses within Europe will be provided.

Proposals should include an abstract of the overall project and its archival sources (500 words) plus a brief biographical note.

Please combine all of your application documents into a single PDF except for the application form. You can download the application form here: Applications should be sent to by no later than 15 October 2019. For any questions, please contact the organisers.


Dr. Sarah Panter

Leibniz Institute of European History

Alte Universitätsstr. 19, 55116 Mainz, Germany

+49 (0)6131-39 393 63

International Conference: Human Rights and Technological Change. Conflicts and Convergences since the 1950s

19-20 September 2019 at the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation, Cologne

Conveners: Dr. Michael Homberg (Potsdam), Dr. Benjamin Möckel (Cologne), Dr. Daniel Stahl (Jena)

Modern technologies have become a major subject of human rights policy. Surveillance technology, the military use of drones, and the possibilities of Big Data analyses pose new challenges for the international human rights movement. At the same time, these techniques offer new ways to document and denounce violations of human rights and to promote mass mobilization. Although these debates are of topical interest, the ambivalent connection between human rights and technologies depicts a long-standing problem. Right from the start, the modern human rights system established in the 1940s and 1950s had to deal with challenges of technological innovations. The appropriation of new technologies in the service of political agendas goes back to these years. Thus, the main focus of this conference is on this ambivalent relation, that has until now scarcely been addressed in historical research.

Empirical case studies from different national and global contexts which focus on the years after 1945 are supposed to lend historical depth to these current debates. The conference analyzes how the spread of modern technologies both challenged and served human rights policies. How did technological innovations change structures, concepts, and practices of human rights policy? And how did these new norms, in turn, shape the way in which new technologies were implemented? Regarding these questions, presentations may take different groups and institutions into account: Governments, media, scientists, industrialists, NGOs and international organizations.

With this approach, the history of human rights can open up new vistas on global history. This is especially true for research on development aid, which hitherto hasn’t taken the historiography on human rights into due consideration. The subject of the conference offers an ideal starting-point: Technological modernization and progress have been promises of salvation by numerous initiatives for the “development” of the “third world”. At the same time, the right to development was of great importance in the debates on human rights. Still, it is important to highlight that such an approach should not only focus on tensions between technologies and human rights in developing countries but also in more developed, industrialized ones.

The conference focusses on five areas: 1) major infrastructure projects; 2) production methods in agriculture and industry; 3) changes in media cultures; 4) the societal impact of computerization; and 5) reproductive technologies. We define technologies as things, infrastructure, techniques, and know-how, which determine and influence social practices and interactions. Revisiting a social history (“Gesellschaftsgeschichte”) of technological change with regard to the transformation of global human rights regimes sheds new light on environmental and economic history approaches as well as the history of technology. Furthermore, it can take new perspectives on the history of migration, postcolonial nation-building, and international policy of the 20th century into account.

Continue reading

CfA: IEG Fellowships for Postdocs


For IEG Fellowships beginning in April 2020 or later The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards fellowships for international postdocs in European history, the history of religion, historical theology, or other historical disciplines. The IEG funds research projects on European history from the early modern period until 1989/90. We are particularly interested in projects

•with a comparative or cross-border approach,

•on European history in its relation to the wider world, or

•on topics of intellectual and religious history.


This fellowship is intended to help you develop your own research project in close collaboration with scholars working at the IEG. Your contribution consists in bringing your own interests to bear on the work of the IEG and its research programme »Negotiating difference in Europe«. This includes the possibility of developing a perspective for further cooperation with the IEG. If for this purpose a promising application for third-party funding is submitted, an extension of the fellowship is possible.


The IEG Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to pursue your individual research project while living and working for 6–12 months at the Institute in Mainz. The monthly stipend is € 1,800. Additionally, you can apply for a family or child allowance.


During the fellowship you are required to reside at the Institute in Mainz. You actively participate in the IEG’s research community and the weekly colloquia. We expect you to present your work at least once during your fellowship. Applicants must have completed their doctorate no more than three years before taking up the fellowship. We expect proficiency in English and a sufficient command of German to participate in discussions at the Institute.


Please combine all of your application documents into a single PDF except for the application form and include a word count at the end of your project description. Please send your application to Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly by the referees. You may write in either English or German; we recommend that you use the language in which you are most proficient. The IEG encourages applications from women.

Please download the application form here:

Please direct your questions about the IEG Fellowship Programme to Barbara Müller:

University of Cologne as new Partner of the GHRA 2019

In a few days the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for the fifth time for one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. In this context it is a great pleasure to announce that the GHRA is joined by a new partner, the Chair in International History and Historical Peace and Conflict Studies at the Department of History of the University of Cologne.

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.

As in the last four years the GHRA received again a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than twenty different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2019:

Maria Cullen is from Dublin and has a great interest in issues of global inequality and development, which is reflected in her studies and her undertaking of an internship with a local NGO in Rwanda last summer. She holds a BA in History and French from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in International Relations from UCD, which gave her an interesting interdisciplinary perspective. She subsequently decided to pursue her  interests further through a PhD in humanitarian history at NUI Galway, which she has now been working on since September 2018.

Mitchell Edwards is a third-year doctoral student in Northwestern University’s African History program. His interest in the continent’s past first developed during his undergraduate career, when he spent consecutive semesters participating in study abroad programs based in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. He has since taught ESL in South Korea, co-managed one of the abovementioned programs in Kigali, Rwanda, improved his comprehension of Swahili in rural Tanzania, and earned a Master’s degree in History from Concordia University in Montreal.

Ana Filipa Guardiao is a PhD candidate at the Lisbon University Institute for Social Sciences, within the Inter-University History Doctoral Program: Change and Continuity in a Global World and with a fellowship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Her dissertation focuses on the processes of humanitarian assistance to the autochthonous refugees from the independence wars of Kenya, Algeria and Angola. With a graduation in Political Science and International Relations and a MA in Political Science, she has participated in national and international research projects, congresses, workshops and publications focusing on political elites, human rights, sovereignty and decolonization processes.

Baher Ibrahim is a history PhD candidate in his third of four years at the University of Glasgow. He is a physician by training, and graduated from Alexandria University, Egypt in 2011. He has since taken time out of a clinical career for research and academia. He holds a MA in Community Psychology from the American University in Cairo, and a MSc in Global Mental Health from King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His interests include refugee mental health, trauma, public health and medical humanitarianism.

Nadia Kornioti holds a Bachelor’s in Law (LLB) from the University of Leicester and a Master’s in Laws (LLM) with a specialisation in Public International Law from University College London (UCL). She is also a qualified advocate under Republic of Cyprus law. Following relevant work experience in Cyprus and abroad, she is currently a PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), based at the Cyprus Campus of the university, where she is also an Associate Lecturer. Her research is a legal-historical study on International Humanitarian Law, with an emphasis on common article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the armed violence in Cyprus, in the period 1963-1971.

Adam Millar is a History PhD student at the University of Leicester, researching the Salvation Army’s overseas settlements and colonies across the British Empire, supervised by Professor Clare Anderson and Dr Zoe Groves. His research focuses on the Army’s migration and settlement schemes, farm colonies for settlers and indigenous communities, and prison-gate settlements. He previously studied at the University of Huddersfield, writing his MRes on the social history of Hudfam and humanitarianism in Huddersfield, supervised by Dr Rebecca Gill. He is currently writing an intellectual biography of Elizabeth Wilson (founder of Hudfam).

Bethany Rebisz is a second-year PhD student funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the University’s of Reading and Exeter. She has a first-class honours degree and graduated with a Distinction for her Masters with both programmes being in history. During her previous degrees she specialised in the Mau Mau conflict fought in Kenya between 1952-60, largely focusing on the British counter-insurgency campaigns and their use of forced resettlement. Her key research interests focus on issues regarding race, gender, humanitarianism and social engineering in the context of modern colonial conflict in Africa.

Kyle Eulogio Romero is a sixth-year Ph.D. Candidate at Vanderbilt University working with Dr. Paul Kramer. He studies and teaches on the history of immigration, refugee politics, and humanitarianism in the twentieth century. His dissertation, “Moving People: Refugee Politics, Foreign Aid, and the Emergence of American Humanitarianism in the Twentieth Century” explores how U.S. institutions, policymakers, and foreign aid workers in the early twentieth century confronted global refugee crises and the techniques they used in response to displacement.

Adriane Sanctis de Brito holds a PhD in Legal Theory and MSc in International Law from University of São Paulo (Brazil). She worked as Teaching Assistant at University of São Paulo and Global Law Graduate Researcher at Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil). During her doctoral studies, she was Visiting PhD Researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at University of Helsinki (Finland), Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow at the Laureate Program in International Law at Melbourne Law School (Australia), and Guest PhD Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for International and Procedural Law (Luxembourg).

Michiko Suzuki received a PhD in History at SOAS University of London. She focused on modern Japanese and East Asian history. Her thesis investigated a historical paradox that defined the Japanese Red Cross Society of the interwar and wartime era. Michiko Suzuki is currently acting as a research assistant at the University of Tokyo. She has presented her papers at a number of high profile conferences such as the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference on the Prohibition and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in Nagasaki, Japan in 2017.

Stephen Westlake is a PhD Candidate at the University of Bristol. He is broadly interested in transnational and global approaches to British history in the post-war period. His research focuses on Britain’s position within key global networks of transnational broadcasting and humanitarian and human rights activism from the late 1960s onwards. His Ph.D project is provisionally entitled “The Oxfam of the Mind”? Britain, the BBC External Services, and the Benevolence of British Internationalism, 1965-1995.

New book “In the Cause of Humanity” in Open Access

Fabian Klose, “In the Cause of Humanity”. Eine Geschichte der humanitären Intervention im langen 19. Jahrhundert, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2019.

The question of whether, when and how the international community should respond to violations of humanitarian norms and related humanitarian crises is undoubtedly one of the much-discussed issues on today’s international policy agenda. However, it was not only at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries that this problem suddenly emerged from nowhere, but already during the course of the long nineteenth century it was controversially dealt with.

In my recently published German book “In the Cause of Humanity. A History of Humanitarian Intervention in the long Nineteenth Century” I am looking at various case studies such as the fight against the slave trade (1807-1890), the military interventions of the major European powers to protec Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire (1827-1878) and the intervention of the United States in the Cuban War of Independence (1898) to investigate the emerging doctrine of humanitarian intervention as an instrument in international politics. A central key role in this development was played by the armed international struggle against the slave trade as the archetype of humanitarian intervention. Thus, the long nineteenth century can be characterized as the genuine “century of humanitarian intervention”, in which military interventionism under the banner of humanity was significantly linked with colonial and imperial projects.

Due to the very generous support by the Monograph Publishing Funds of the Leibniz Association, for which I am deeply grateful, “In the Cause of Humanity” is simultanously published in Open Access. If you are interested you can now read and download the complete book at:

Now in Open Access: “Humanity. A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present”

Fabian Klose/Mirjam Thulin (ed.), Humanity. A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present, Göttingen 2016.  

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.

The volume is now available in open access and you can now download the complete book at: or 

Conference: “Putting Human Rights to the Test Claims, Interventions, and Contestations since 1990”

International Conference in Cologne, May 16-17, 2019 at the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung in Cologne

Cross-posted from

The concept of human rights has profoundly shaped national and international policies after the end of the Cold War and during the worldwide wave of democratization at the end of the 20th Century. However, this development does not necessarily denote an upward trend in human rights. Although states, NGOs and International Organizations enacted important political projects, formulated symbolic demands or implemented instruments of transnational regulation under the label of human rights, the principle of human rights was also heavily contested and strongly rejected. Emphatic hopes of a New World Order of global justice, that had been sparked by human rights in the early 90s, soon faded. Mass killings could not be stopped, authoritarian regimes remained in power, and humanitarian interventions presented drastic and problematic side effects.

Historical research on this complex development has only just begun, with empirical studies and overarching interpretations still lacking. Nevertheless, critical reflection on the history of human rights over the last quarter century is essential for a better understanding of our political presence. This observation provides the starting point for our conference, which brings together experts from different disciplines and world regions to advance research and analysis on the recent history of human rights. The conference neither wants to reproduce the triumphalism of the 1990s nor the narrative of decline which has become dominant over the past years. Instead, it aims to sharpen perspectives on the contradictory developments by including diverse groups of actors in its analysis: states, International Organizations, NGOs, politicians, scholars and experts.

Human rights did not have a breakthrough in the 1990s – they were already a well-established instrument of national and international policies. However, International Organizations, NGOs, politicians, scholars and experts attributed more and more significance to human rights. By doing so – this is the assumption underlying the conference – they tested the limits of human rights policies. A growing number of actors began framing their concerns as human rights issues. The universal claim of human rights received unprecedented support and was adopted in interventionist practices, crossing national borders. At the same time – and in many cases as a direct consequence – the idea of universally valid individual rights was met with heavy opposition and alternative concepts. Different academic disciplines made human rights a subject of their research, thereby impacting the practice of human rights activism and policies. Accordingly, the conference is split into four panels focusing on these developments.



Thursday, May 16, 2019

10.00 a.m. –5.30 p.m.

Welcome: Norbert Frei
: Jan Eckel

Panel I: Expansion
Knud Andresen
(Hamburg): Multinational Corporations after Apartheid in South Africa
Celia Donert (Liverpool): Women’s Rights as Human Rights after 1990
Paul van Trigt (Leiden): The Fall of Utopia and the Integration of Disability in International Law

Panel II: Intervention
Stephen Wertheim
(New York): Transformative Interventions: The Militarization of Humanitarianism in the United States
Markus Eikel (Den Haag): International Criminal Law and the Prosecution of Human Rights Violations
Barbara Keys (Melbourne): The Convention against Torture as a Tool of Intervention

7.00 p.m.

Dan Diner (Jerusalem): Public Lecture


Friday, May 17, 2019

9.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.

Panel III: Contestations and Alternatives

Katrin Kinzelbach (Berlin): Asian Values versus Western Values – a False Dichotomy
Gudrun Krämer (Berlin): On Difference and Hierarchy: Islamic Debates about Equity and Equality
Averell Schmidt (Boston): Torture during the War on Terror: A Story of Contestation
Robert Horvath (Melbourne): Nationalising Human Rights in Russia

Panel IV: Human Rights and Scholarship
Annette Weinke
(Jena): History und Transitional Justice – A Troubled Relationship
Matthias Koenig (Göttingen): Between Distance and Engagement – Human Rights in the Social Sciences
Heike Krieger (Berlin): From Euphoria to Skepticism: Human Rights Discourses in International Law

Observer statements

Michael Stolleis (Frankfurt a.M.)

Klaus Dicke (Jena)

Carola Sachse (Wien)

“Ware Mensch – Der transatlantische Sklavenhandel”

Radio Feature von Michael Zametzer

Vom 16. bis ins 19. Jahrhundert verschleppten Europäer rund 12 Millionen Afrikaner über den Atlantik in die Kolonien nach Amerika, wo sie als Sklaven auf den europäischen Plantagen und Minen Zwangsarbeit leisten mussten. Über diesen jahrhundertelangen Handel mit der “Ware Mensch” zwischen Europa, Afrika und Amerika hat BR-Journalist Michael Zametzer einen sehr hörenswerter Radiobeitrag auf Bayern 2 Radiowissen gemacht.

Slave Trade Memorial in Stone Town, Sansibar, Foto: Fabian Klose

Für alle Interessierten, hier geht es zum Podcast: