amnesty international campaign: https://teambrave.org/ger
Switzerland is uniquely positioned as host of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Swiss neutrality, Swiss humanitarian policy, and the Swiss flag are often associated with the Red Cross. As a result, a special relationship has developed between the country and the international humanitarian organization. My book, Hilfe schenken. Die Beziehung zwischen dem Internationalen Komitee vom Roten Kreuz und der Schweiz (NZZ Libro 2017), critically explores this relationship during the period between the two World Wars (1919-1939) using sources from the ICRC archives, the Federal Archives of Switzerland, and a wide range of publications and private archives in Switzerland.
At first sight, the interwar years were a calm period for the special relationship. Looking closer, however, exposes how the relationship between the ICRC and Switzerland changed and strengthened during this time, foreshadowing criticisms during Second World War that the axis between Bern and Geneva had become too close to guarantee truly neutral and independent humanitarian aid.Looking at ICRC missions in the field, for example, I found that the ICRC did not collaborate with Switzerland during the interwar years nearly as much as it had done during the First World War. This also held true for the refugee crisis after the First World War, and for several conflicts during the 1930s.
However, Swiss foreign policy started relying more and more on its relationship with the ICRC. It was important for government officials to position Geneva and the ICRC as pillars of its neutrality and humanitarian policy in order to promote Geneva as the headquarters of the League of Nations.
There was also competition about competencies and patronage when it came to developing international humanitarian law. Switzerland showed a great interest and provided resources to the ICRC. Members of the ICRC were in close collaboration with Swiss officials to prepare a convention for the protection of prisoners of war and the revision of the Geneva Convention. In 1929, a conference held in Geneva completed this work and 33 states signed the conventions. The Swiss and the ICRC positions were strengthened in the texts.
Regarding our new IEG open access publication “On site, in time” here is my article on the “Peace Lines” in Belfast
Beginning of “the Troubles” and the erection of the “Peace Lines” (constellations)
Over the course of 1969, domestic tensions in Northern Ireland, which had been growing for decades between the Protestant and Catholic parts of the population, escalated to the point of open violence. In August, various cities experienced several days of civil-war-like unrest. In Belfast, the hostile confessional groups engaged in veritable street battles in which residential districts were attacked and entire streets lined with houses were burned down. Nine people were killed, over 700 civilians and police were injured, and in Belfast alone nearly 400 houses were damaged by arson attacks.
Northern Ireland was an integral part of the United Kingdom. When the situation came to a head, the prime minister of Northern Ireland called on the central government in London for help. In response, British army units were sent to separate the parties to the conflict and bring the situation back under control. After arriving, the British soldiers began to put up barbed wire fences and checkpoints around the neighbourhoods controlled by the battling groups – first at the hot spot between the Catholic Falls Road and the Protestant Shankill Road. The idea was to prevent further attacks between Protestants and Catholics. General Sir Ian Freeland, the British troops’ general officer commanding, called these peace lines a “very, very temporary affair”, underscoring his position thus: “We will not have a Berlin Wall or anything like that in this city”.
Yet over the course of the nearly thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland, which is often referred to as “the Troubles”, the provisional fences were indeed replaced with permanent barriers: walls of concrete and steel, up to eight meters high and reinforced at the top with fencing, whose various sections ran for a total of 34 kilometres through front yards and residential streets. These so-called “peace lines” or “peace walls” put their stamp on the cityscape of Belfast, as they did in other Northern Irish cities like Derry/Londonderry, Portadown and Lurgan. They became a visible expression of Northern Ireland’s population, divided by civil war.
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)
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.
Law and Policy researcher, ICRC
When I was a young student in history and philosophy at the University of Geneva, I had never thought that one day I may work for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Yet it happened. While I was preparing my Master thesis, the protection division at the ICRC was looking for a young historian to carry out a research in their archives. I got hired for a one-year traineeship contract, which was extended by two shorter terms within the relations with arms carriers unit and at the archives division. This experience was a turning point in my career. As a consequence, I decided to write my PhD dissertation on the history of the ICRC, which was part of a research project dedicated to Switzerland during the First World War. I analyzed the interactions between humanitarian action and neutrality at that time.
In July 2015, during my research, I got the chance to participate in the very first Global Humanitarian Research Academy. This academy played a very positive role for me, as it was an occasion to meet other researchers working on the history of humanitarian action. Our various talks and debates made me think about other practices and ways of studying the past of humanitarian organizations. We shared different perspectives, some close and some more distant from mine; however all of them very interesting and challenging. It also gave me the opportunity to question my hypotheses and research results to more advanced scholars. They gave good advices that I then used during the writing process of my dissertation. Meeting others PhD students was useful in terms of networking of course. Beyond that, the excellent atmosphere created during the academy allowed us to maintain amical contacts as well. Still today, I regularly exchange with my fellows. At the end, this experience was really rewarding.
Now, I am Law and Policy researcher for the Law and Policy Forum (obviously…) at the ICRC. One might wonder why a researcher with a background in history carries out research on issues related to International humanitarian law (IHL). My training as a historian helps me a lot in my work for several reasons.
I first use concrete skills developed during my dissertation and at the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy. On a daily basis, I need to find references on specific topics and read plenty of publications. Mountains of data are stored at the ICRC archives and my role is to exploit them by finding facts, evidences, eloquent examples, by synthetizing them and by enhancing our more than 150 years of experience, successes and failures. Being a PhD student is not only an intellectual adventure; it is also a full professional experience. While researching and writing my dissertation, I gained many soft skills too: project management, responsibility, flexibility, creativity, persistence, communication, teamwork ability, etc. Historians sometimes tend to forget that we have these skills sought in the private sector.
Investigations on the role of Volkswagen during military dictatorship: TV-Documentary by Stefanie Dodt and Thomas Aders
The German automobile firm Volkswagen is being investigated by public prosecutors in Brazil. Newspaper and TV journalist from NDR, SWR and Süddeutsche Zeitung have now published findings of their own. The excellent TV documentary by Stefanie Dodt and Thomas Aders is available in the ARD-Mediathek with English subtitles and in Portuguese. Lúcio Bellentani, a former worker, says he was arrested in the workshop by factory security and handed over to the Brazilian secret police who took him away for prolongued torture over several months. Carl Hahn, then top manager with the car company, claims that he had no idea that human rights were violated on company ground. He says that there are more important things than investigating the past.
The company’s press officer does not wish to make a statement on the accusation as long as the investigations are ongoing. The journalist team of investigators base the documentary on interviews but also on archival files. They contain a large number of reports on Volkswagen do Brasil workers the company regularly sent to the secret police during the dictatorship. This is an exemplary piece of journalistic and archival research.
Watch the documentary here.
The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards
Research fellowships for international postdocs
for a research stay in Mainz beginning in April 2018 or later.
Deadline: October 1, 2017.
The IEG awards fellowships for international young researchers in history, theology and other historical subjects. The IEG promotes research on the historical foundations of Europe from the early modern period to 1989/90, particularly regarding their religious, political and social dimensions. Projects dealing with European communication and transfer processes as well as projects focusing on questions related to theology, church history and intellectual history are particularly welcome.
What we offer
Funding is € 1,800/month. Research fellows live and work for between 6 and 12 months at the Institute in Mainz and can pursue their individual research project (extension possible).
This fellowship is intended to help you develop your own research project in close collaboration with scholars working at the IEG. Your contribution consist 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.
- Applicants must have completed their doctorate no more than three years before taking up the fellowship.
- Fellows are required to register officially as residents in Mainz and to take part in events at the Institute.
- Fellows are not permitted to undertake paid work while receiving the IEG fellowship.
- The linguae academicae at the IEG are German and English; fellows must have a passive command of both and an active command of at least one of the two languages so as to participate in the discussions at the Institute.
Please send your application via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the fellowship programme and application see:
While the historical role of children and notions of childhood in times of war and crises generally constituted an important theme at the Ninth Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth (SHCY), one panel was explicitly dedicated to the study of international humanitarianism and attempts to protect children in the transition between war and peace. The panel was organized by Yukako Otori (Harvard University) and Andrée-Ann Plourde (Laval University) and included presenters that had first met in the framework of the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA). The panel, which was chaired by the distinguished historian of international child welfare and author of Raising the World: Child Welfare in the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2015) Sara Fieldston, explored the intersection of international attempts to protect children and the history of humanitarianism on the basis of four case studies.
Opening the panel was historian of Africa Stacey Hynd (Exeter University) who discussed the construction of the “child soldier” in the second half of the twentieth century. Presenting rich examples from the involvement of children in armed conflict from the 1950s (the Mau Mau rebellion) to discussions in the United Nations in the mid-1990s, she, firstly, showed how child soldiering was gradually constructed as an African phenomenon. Secondly, tracing how legal, human rights and humanitarian discourses and norms discursively produced the image of the “child soldier”, Hynd argued that it was precisely the divergence of this image from the actual experiences of children actively involved in war that ultimately limited the effectiveness of humanitarian intervention. The intersection of humanitarian campaigning and international legislative efforts also constituted a major theme in the second presentation by Yukako Otori. Exploring the making of international child labor law in the interwar years, Otori not only traced the emergence of a set of conventions against child labor issued by the International Labor Conference, the highest legislative organ of the International Labor Organization (ILO), but also pointed to the limited effectiveness of these conventions when it came to the ratification and enforcement by the individual member states. Yet, as she pointed out, the legislative efforts of the 1920s nonetheless produced significant shifts in the understanding of child labor, which was marked by a growing sensitivity towards non-industrial labor as well as long-terms negative effects such as for instance interrupted schooling. Continue reading
Our third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) has started with one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. On this occasion the GHRA is very pleased to welcome Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel and Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch as two distinguished guest lecturers on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
In the morning session Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel, the former Head of the ICRC Archives and former special advisor to the previous ICRC president, will speak on ICRC work and policies during the period 1966 to 1975.
In the afternoon session Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, Director of the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel will give the guest lecture “Exchange ships: enemy aliens, repatriation and forced migration during World War II”.
We are all very much looking forward to these two presentations and the following discussion!
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.
The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards
Research fellowships for
international Ph.D. students
for a research stay in Mainz beginning in March 2018.
The IEG awards fellowships for international junior researchers in history, theology and other historical subjects. The IEG promotes research on the historical foundations of Europe from the early modern period to 1989/90, particularly regarding their religious, political and social dimensions. Projects dealing with European communication and transfer processes as well as projects focusing on questions related to theology, church history and intellectual history are particularly welcome.
What we offer
Funding is currently € 1,200/month. Research fellows live and work for between 6 and 12 months at the Institute in Mainz and can pursue their individual Ph.D. project. Fellows are advised by a mentor from among the IEG’s academic staff.
PhD theses continue to be supervised and are completed under the auspices of the fellows’ home universities. Fellows are required to register officially as residents in Mainz and to reside and take part in events at the Institute. The linguae academicae at the IEG are German and English; fellows must have a passive command of both and an active command of at least one of the two languages so as to participate in the discussions at the Institute.
Please send your application via e-mail to: email@example.com Subject: Stipendienbewerbung
Deadline for Application:
15 August 2017
For further information on the fellowship program and application see:
Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) | Fellowship Programme | Barbara Müller, M. A. Alte Universitaetsstraße 19 | 55116 Mainz – Germany | E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. 0049 (0)6131 – 39 39365
Regarding our new IEG open access publication “On site, in time” here is Sarah Panter’s article on St. Louis, in which she focuses on German revolutionaries and aboltion.
Cross-posted from: http://en.ieg-differences.eu/on-site-in-time/sarah-panter-st-louis-mo/
For the Union and against slavery: the Camp Jackson Affair in May 1861
St. Louis, which was originally founded in 1763 as a French trading post, grew into a centre of European immigration from the 1830s and became a hub for settlers in the American West. The city’s favourable location on the Mississippi River earned it the name “Gateway to the West”. The Missouri territory, however, was not acquired by the United States from France (“Louisiana Purchase”) until 1803. Under the so-called Missouri Compromise, the area was included in the Union in 1821 as a state where slavery was legal. Still, unlike many Southern states, Missouri had only few slaves.
Depiction of Camp Jackson affair, first published in the New York Illustrated News on 05.25.1861 under the title “Terrible Tragedy at St. Louis, Mo.”
The key role of St. Louis as a stronghold of secular “abolitionism” was already apparent in the early stages of the American Civil War (1861–1865). On May 10th, 1861, tensions developed at Camp Jackson between pro-Union and pro-Confederate militias regarding the nearby St. Louis Arsenal, which belonged to federal troops. In the ranks of the pro-Union militia there were many German immigrants. By contrast, along with governor of Missouri Claiborne Fox Jackson (1806–1862) and the local slaveholders, most Irish immigrants supported the Confederate camp. When shots were fired during this dispute, turmoil ensued and anti-German insults followed. In the end, there were 30 deaths. The Union militias were finally able to successfully defend the armoury, and Missouri remained part of the Union. At the same time, however, the incidents led to deep divisions among the population.
Crossposted from EuropeAcrossBorders
The international conference at the Leibniz Institute of European History discusses the relationship between gender and humanitarian discourses and practices in the twentieth century. In particular, it analyzes the ways in which constructions and ideologies of gender shaped and were shaped by humanitarian practices, interactions, ideas, bodies, and institutions on local, regional, national and/or global scales. By introducing the analytical category of gender into the historical study of humanitarianism, the conference discusses how (hierarchical) relations between men and women, social and cultural constructions of masculinity/femininity and gendered conceptions of human bodies worked out in the various types of humanitarian organizations (e.g. IOs, NGOs, networks, aid agencies, churches), campaigns, perceptions, works and subjectivities. Focusing on the time between the First World War and the end of the Cold War, the conference concentrates on a period that not only witnessed a great expansion of humanitarian action worldwide but also saw fundamental changes in gender relations and the gradual emergence of gender-sensitive policies in humanitarian organizations in many Western and non-Western settings.
Thursday June 29, 2017
14.00–14.30 Esther Möller (Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Mainz), Katharina Stornig (Giessen): Welcome and Introduction
I. Masculinities and Femininities in Humanitarian Discourse and Practice (Chair: Ulrike Weckel, Giessen)
14.30–15.30 Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda): Gender and Humanitarian Practices after World War I: Female Scandinavian Relief Workers and Armenian Women Refugees in Lebanon and Syria
15.30–16.30 Maria Lidola (Konstanz): Gender and the Formation of Humanitarian Discourse in the Global South: The Specific Case of Cuban Medical Missions
16.30–17.00 Coffee break
17.00–18.00 Bertrand Taithe (Manchester): Masculine Character and Heroics in Humanitarian Aid: A Long Perspective
18.00–19.00 Kerrie Holloway (London): Where are all the Men in Humanitarian History? A Re-assessment of Field Workers during the Spanish Civil War
20.00 Conference Dinner
Historically, how were difference and inequality negotiated in Europe? What were the parts played by religion, society and politics? “On site, in time” takes a look at events that took place in European locations and that exemplify Europe¹s historical development since 1500. The c. 60 articles illustrate the various and conflict-ridden ways of negotiating differences and inequality. They depict strategies that were developed to promote, present, preserve, mitigate or abolish difference. Such strategies may include discussions, peaceful solutions and aid as well migration, mission and protest or even exclusion, war and destruction.
Negotiating differences in Europe, ed. for the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) by Joachim Berger, Irene Dingel and Johannes Paulmann, Mainz 2016.
The open access publication “On site, in time” is a product of the current research programme “Negotiating differences in Modern Europe” of the Leibnitz Institute of European History (IEG). Its aim is, on the one hand, to provide basic information on how differences were negotiated in Modern Europe, and on the other hand to make the research carried out at the IEG understandable and available to a wider audience. “On site, in time” is therefore meant for everyone with a distinct interest in history, religion, politics, and societal questions.
In the next couple of weeks I will present some examples of these articles directly related to the history of humanitarianism and human rights here on hhr!
In the meantime enjoy discovering the new IEG open access publication “On site, in time”!