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).

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