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

CfP: The Red Cross Movement, Voluntary Organisations and Reconstruction in Western Europe in the 20th century

This one-day symposium will be held at the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po (Paris, France) on Friday 12 June 2020

Historical research on voluntary or non-government organisations and their contribution to the reconstruction of states, communities and humanitarian assistance to civilian populations following conflicts, epidemics and disasters through the twentieth century has generally focused on non-Western European countries. The historiography suggests that it is mostly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa that natural or man-made disasters have occurred, and that these places have been the focus for humanitarian assistance. The major geographical spheres of interest for Red Cross societies and non-government organisations to provide assistance to populations in times of severe crises do not generally include Western Europe, except for World War II. Rather, the humanitarian enterprise is viewed through the binary of the Global North/Global South, those who save, and those who are saved.

This symposium intends to explore the ways in which non-government organisations have contributed to the reconstruction, and care for populations, in Western European countries such as France, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. It seeks to investigate how the Red Cross movement – the League of Red Cross Societies/International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent, the International Committee of Red Cross and individual national societies – alongside other voluntary organisations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children and a range of other international and local non-government bodies, have contributed to reconstruction in these countries at both national and local levels following times of crises such as wars, civilian upheavals and natural disasters.

Here, reconstruction is not understood in its narrow and literal sense of the rebuilding of infrastructure, or the return to a previous state of being. Rather, we understand reconstruction as a series of complex social, economic, political, cultural and demographic processes that alter the status quo through their transformative nature, including immediate post-war assistance to populations. As Sultan Barakat (2005) has explained, reconstruction is “a range of holistic activities in an integrated process designed not only to reactivate economic and social development but at the same time to create a peaceful environment that will prevent relapse into violence”, or chaos. The focus of this symposium, therefore, is to survey the role, influence and agency of not-for-profit and non-governmental organisations and civil society in times of reconstruction. 

Questions to consider include but are not limited to:

► What is the role of such non-for-profit organisations in states traditionally understood as strong, stable and self-sufficient?

► How have those states relied on civil society to assist the population where state services could not?

► What was the role of Western European voluntary organisations in helping these global powers?

► How have voluntary organisations assisted vulnerable populations immediately after conflicts or major crises?

► How have voluntary organisations been able to create institutional resilience in times of crises?

► What was the relationship between governments and non-government organisations within and between the processes of reconstruction?

► What role did individuals play in navigating the world of reconstruction?

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a short biography by 21 September 2019 to humanitarianreconstruction@gmail.com. A few small travel grants will be available for PhD candidates and Early Career Researchers. Should you wish to apply for funding, please attach a budget to your application and a short rationale for the funding request. Please note that this symposium is focused toward the publication of new research.

Organising Committee

Dr. Romain Fathi, Flinders University / Sciences Po

Prof. Melanie Oppenheimer, Flinders University

Prof. Guillaume Piketty, Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po

Prof. Davide Rodogno, Graduate Institute Geneva

Prof. Paul-André Rosental, Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po

 

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.

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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 https://www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-39458

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.

Registration: https://fts.veranstaltungs-anmeldung.de/

Programme:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

10.00 a.m. –5.30 p.m.

Welcome: Norbert Frei
Keynote
: 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

Dinner

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)


Care in Crisis – Ethnographic Perspectives on Humanitarianism

Conference at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies (ifeas)
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

22 – 24 February 2018

This conference introduces the notion of care into studies of humanitarianism. Care is a social activity produced by combinations of intimate and institutional practices. All of us need to be cared for, but care requirements are revealed more starkly and are often amplifi ed in moments of acute need or emergency. At the same time, in emergency and disaster situations, quotidian care arrangements can themselves undergo a crisis. Everyday routines may need to be adapted and radically changing conditions can call into question established procedures, or demand alternative modes of action.

Humanitarian intervention reconfigures caring institutions through new ways of knowing and representing suffering that emerge alongside organizational responses; it produces shifts in the organization and practice of care that profoundly reshape the sociality of those involved; and it is implicated in the production of new material environments that restructure the possibilities and limits of caring interventions. Contributors draw on ethnographic fi eldwork to explore the mutual construction of entitlements, responsibilities and governance that shape practices of care in humanitarian contexts, as well as the moral underpinnings, materiality and lived realities of these dynamics.

Programme (download Flyer)

ORGANIZERS:
Heike Drotbohm, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Hannah Brown, Durham University

 

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

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

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

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Conference Report “Gender & Humanitarianism: (Dis-)Empowering Women and Men in the Twentieth Century”

Report by Katharina Wolf, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), University of Giessen

Cross-posted from <www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-7338>

While there is currently a lot of research on the history of Humanitarianism, its relationship with the analytical category of gender still lacks systematic exploration. The international conference “Gender & Humanitarianism: (Dis-)Empowering Women and Men in the Twentieth Century”, which was funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and held at the Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz), was organized with the aim of filling this gap in research. It explored how gender shaped and was shaped by humanitarian discourses and practices in the period between the First World War and the end of the Cold War. The conference papers discussed this relationship by emphasizing historiographical issues relating to processes of inclusion and exclusion, adopting multiple transnational perspectives. Integrating humanitarian organizations and actors from across the whole globe, the papers presented had multiple geographical focuses on the Middle East, on India, on Western Europe, as well as on Central and South America.

After a brief introduction to the topic by JOHANNES PAULMANN (Mainz), KATHARINA STORNIG (Giessen) and ESTHER MÖLLER (Mainz), the first panel, dealing with masculinities and femininities in humanitarian discourse and practice, started with two papers discussing the roles of women as relief workers in moments of historical crisis. Focusing on the context of the Armenian genocide and the displacements of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, INGER MARIE OKKENHAUG (Volda) inquired into the interaction between Scandinavian female health care professionals of the Danish and Norwegian Women’s Mission Organization, on the one hand, and female Armenian refugees and relief workers, on the other, between 1925 and 1935 in what is today Lebanon and Syria. She highlighted different forms of cooperation involving close connections and interactions between Armenian and Scandinavian women, while especially stressing the role of religion in the encounter between Lutherans and Armenians. Okkenhaug also discussed the relief workers’ perception of their roles as women and their interaction with male refugees or co-workers.

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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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IFZ-Conference Report: Migration, Refugees, and Asylum

Cross-posted from

http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/tagungsberichte/id=7049

Institut für Zeitgeschichte – München-Berlin 14.12.2016-16.12.2016, München

Bericht von:

Joseph Hawker, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

E-Mail: <j.hawker@utoronto.ca>

Im Jahre 2016 waren nach Angaben des UNHCR weltweit über 65 Millionen Menschen auf der Flucht, die meisten von ihnen als Binnenvertriebene im eigenen Land (“internally displaced persons”) aufgrund anhaltender bewaffneter Konflikte – eine historische Rekordhöhe. Hinzu kommen Millionen von Arbeitsmigranten, die sich aus wirtschaftlicher Not und in der Hoffnung auf bessere Lebensbedingungen auf den Weg machen. Diese aktuellen politischen Entwicklungen waren Ausgangspunkt der interdisziplinär angelegten Konferenz, die vom Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Zusammenarbeit mit der Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, organisiert und vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung gefördert wurde.

Drei Leitfragen strukturierten die Tagung, wie IfZ-Direktor Andreas Wirsching eingangs hervorhob: Welche politischen, rechtlichen und wissenschaftlichen Konzepte von Migration, Flucht und Asyl waren seit dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs erkennbar? Welche Motive, Normen und Prinzipien prägten den Diskurs um humanitäre Hilfe, Migrations- und Asylpolitik? Welche Akteure agierten im globalen Migrationsregime und welche Praktiken politischer Steuerung entwickelten sie? Ausgehend davon zog das erste Panel eine Bilanz der aktuellen Forschungstrends in verschiedenen Disziplinen. 

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Workshop: Health, Well-Being and Subsistence in the History of Socioeconomic Rights, Duties and Obligations,10-11 November 2016

Socioeconomic Rights in History Leverhulme Network

Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB)

Workshop Organised by:

Dieter Gosewinkel, Paul-André Rosental, and Claudia Stein

This two-day workshop will explore the history of the rights to health and subsistence from the eighteenth century to today from the perspective of governmentality and biopolitics.

The papers (3-5 pages each) will be submitted by November 1 and will be pre-circulated to all participants. During the workshop, each contributor will summarize his or her reflections in 10-15 minutes, followed by 30-40 minutes of discussion. The papers are in English. Our principal aim is to discover underlying themes and problems in the history of the right to health and subsistence over time.

 

Thursday, 10 November

9.15                 Meet at WZB, Reichspietsufer 50, 10785 Berlin, room:  TBA

9.30                 Opening comments

 

Session 1: Legal Preliminaries: Right to Health and Subsistence from a Legal Perspective

9.45                 Eberhard Eichenhofer, University of Jena

Right to Health: Some Observations from the German Perspective

Session 2: Traditions and Institutions of Care and Subsistence

10.30               Andrew Mendelsohn, Queen Mary, University of London,

Physicians, the Protectable Worker’s Body, the Minable Earth, and the Naturalization of Sustainable Organized Extractive Capitalism

11.15               Coffee Break

11.30               Hilary Marland/Catharine Cox/Margaret Charleroy, University of Warwick/University College Dublin

presentation of two research projects related to the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award Project: Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000

Governmentality and Prisoners’ Minds in the late Nineteenth Century:  Was there a Prisoners’ ‘Right to Health’?

Understanding Prisoner Rights Through Diet and Health

12.15               Cornelius Torp (FU, Berlin)

Social Justice in Old Age Provision: Germany and the UK since 1945

13.00               lunch WZB

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51. Historikertag, Panel “Matters of Law or Religion? Human Rights, Ideology, and Religion in the Divided Germany and Europe after 1945”

Panel: “Matters of Law or Religion? Human Rights, Ideology, and Religion in the Divided Germany and Europe after 1945”

Organized by Dr. Sebastian Gehrig and Dr. Ned Richardson-Little

Human rights and international law garnered increasing popularity since the end of the Second World War. Since the end of the Cold War, the language of human rights has reached unprecedented social and political legitimacy. At the same time, however, the religious, legal, and ideological origins of competing ideas of human rights fell into oblivion. The secular and legal language of today’s human rights debates has helped obscuring their conflict-ridden history. Recent scholarship has thus emphasised the role of ideological conflicts, church and religious activism, and social movements in the emergence of human rights as a political language and part of international law. How did socialist human rights concepts develop alongside and in conflict with liberal-democratic ideas? What was the role of the churches, religious groups and activists in the negotiation of human rights language? How were human rights politically employed and by whom? Was the so-called human rights revolution of the 1970s much more triggered by Third World liberation ideology and decolonisation movements than Western governments? And finally: Did religious and ideological beliefs structure the evolution of human rights language and international law much more than legal thought? This section explores human rights concepts, their political language, and religious and ideological roots as an integral part of the Cold War in Germany and beyond.

 Presentations:

PD Dr. Katharina Kunter (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Säkularisierungskitt und Antikriegswaffe? Christentum und Menschenrechte nach 1945

Dr. Ned Richardson-Little (University of Exeter)

Das Scheitern der Sozialistischen Menschenrechte

Dr. Sebastian Gehrig (University of Oxford)

Der Kampf um das menschenfreundlichere System: Menschenrechte, das geteilte Deutschland und die Vereinten Nationen nach 1945

Dr. Fabian Klose (Leibniz Institut für Europäische Geschichte Mainz)

Zur Idee der Humanitären Intervention im Zeichen des Kalten Krieges, 1945-1989

Commentary:

PD Dr. Annette Weinke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)

Conference Announcement

Menschen – Bilder – Eine Welt.

Menschenbilder in Missionszeitschriften aus der Zeit des Kaiserreichs

6–8 October, 2016

Leibniz Institute of European History (Mainz)

 

16-10-06-08-plakat-round-table-menschen-bilder-endg
While recent research has shown great interest in the media dimensions of global movements and transnational campaigns in the twentieth century, we still know only little about the use and function of images in the modern missionary movement. However, already a brief glance at mission periodicals makes clear that missionary organizations were among the first transnational institutions that massively (re)produced, distributed and used large amounts of images from throughout the world in their various printed materials. Already in the nineteenth century, they used selected images (engravings, photographs) for specific ends and placed them in specific medial and communicative contexts, which ranged from certain visions of differentiating and ordering the world’s people to emphasizing Christian ideas of shared humanity.

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Second GHRA, 10-22 July 2016

In ten days the second Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for one week of academic training at the University of Exeter before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

UnbenanntThe GHRA received again a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than sixteen different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal very carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2016:

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Conference Report on the Workshop „Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare“

International Workshop

Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare: Intersections and Transformations

in the Early Modern and Modern Period 

April 10–12, 2016

Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz, and Museum Judengasse, Frankfurt a.M.

Shtadlanut (intercession) is generally perceived as a Jewish political practice or as Jewish diplomacy. It was often closely connected with “righteous” and charitable activities (tzedakah) within the Jewish community. Whereas the Jewish welfare system and charitable activities were already highly developed in the medieval times, shtadlanut had its first heydays in the early modern period. In Western and Central Europe wealthy Jewish court factors and in Eastern European communities the shtadlan (Jewish representative) became integral parts of the Jewish communal and inter-communal structures. During the 19th and early 20th century, both shtadlanut and tzedakah changed fundamentally. While Jews were offered emancipation, which demanded certain degrees of inclusion, acculturation and sometimes even assimilation, Jewish intercession and solidarity seemed to remain important due to an incomplete integration and increasing anti-Semitism.

Thus, the workshop took a fresh look at the traditional understanding of shtadlanut and tzedakah and examined how both ideas and practices were interrelated and changed over time. Consequently, the workshop addressed the following questions: How did Jews represent and negotiate their interests and “otherness” in different societies? Why and how could they receive special cultural, economic, and legal status from the early modern period up to the 20th century? How influential were the concept and practice of tzedakah in Jewish political traditions? And finally, how have intercession and welfare been adapted in the course of the modern era?

The keynote of NOAM ZOHAR (Bar Ilan) opened the workshop at the newly renovated Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt am Main. In his lecture, Zohar discussed selected passages from the Talmud, Midrashim, and also rabbinical responsa from the Middle Ages, and traced back Jewish political thinking to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. His inter-textual approach revealed a long durée perspective on the subject of a Jewish political tradition that included perceptions and ideas of authority and membership but also morals of charity and welfare.

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International Workshop “Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare”

Jewish Diplomacy and Welfare:

Intersections and Transformations in the Early Modern and Modern Period

April 10–12, 2016

Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz,

and Museum Judengasse, Frankfurt a.M.

Shtadlanut (intercession) is generally perceived as a Jewish political practice, or as Jewish diplomacy. It was often closely connected with “righteous” and charitable activities (tzedakah) within the Jewish community. Both practices changed fundamentally during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Jews were offered emancipation and, as a result, faced issues of inclusion, acculturation, and assimilation. In this context, the shtadlanim (advocates) of the Jewish minority were confronted with the incomplete integration as well as increasing anti-Semitism, which appear to have reinforced the necessity of Jewish intercession and solidarity.

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

Convener

Dr. Mirjam Thulin

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