Read any newspaper in the United States or United Kingdom at the moment and it is likely to be full of news items related to refugees and immigration. Were you to open a newspaper in the 1930s, you would find very similar news stories. Despite the fact Second World War internment took place over 70 years ago, it could not be more relevant in today’s society.
Internment is a recognised function of war, and so the detention of enemy aliens during the Second World War was not unexpected. In times of peril, it can be hard to discern who is friend and who is foe, and there are inevitably casualties of war.
However, national security as a reason for action can sometimes be abused.
Such was the case with the mass internment of those of Japanese ancestry in the United States, a large proportion of whom were American citizens, supposedly protected by the constitution. There were multiple deaths in camp due to the poor medical facilities, notwithstanding the trigger happy guards – the most famous of these deaths perhaps being that of James Hatsuki Wakasa in 1943.
In the case of internment in Britain, the most readily identifiable victims were those who drowned when the Arandora Star, a ship transporting internees from the Isle of Man to Canada, was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, in 1940.
The international Global Humanitarianism | Research Academy(GHRA) offers research training to PhD candidates and early postdocs. It combines academic sessions at the Imperial and Global History Centre at the University of Exeter and the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz with archival sessions at the Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. The Research Academy is for early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present. Continue reading “Call for Applications: Global Humanitarianism Research Academy 2018”→
Today “the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second world war”, the UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs recently declared. This statement shows that humanitarianism is very much alive today, but that it apparently also has a history. But why am I writing about that on a blog related to the history of disability? That is because I participated in the Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA), organized by the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the University of Exeter, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over the span of two weeks in July, spent both in Mainz and Geneva, this event brought together thirteen scholars from all over the world working on issues related to humanitarianism, international humanitarian law and human rights. I was lucky to be one of them, and got inspired to write this short blog about it.
So what was I doing there? My research is on the history of development interventions by UN agencies, aimed at people with disabilities in Tanzania and Kenya. I can certainly relate my subject to human rights, being part of a project that aims at unravelling how disability rose to the mainstream of international human rights discourses. But humanitarianism? I must admit that I did not have a clear idea about what humanitarianism entails before I joined this academy. During the two weeks of discussions and lectures however, it soon became clear that maybe no one has, or at least that different people have very different ideas about it. Certain themes and concepts nonetheless consistently appear throughout different writings on the history of humanitarianism, and I can certainly relate my own research to them: fostering sympathy across borders, mobilizing people through transnational organizations, lobbying for state interventions, and especially the relief of ‘the suffering of distant others’. It thus became clear that looking at my research through the lens of humanitarianism might be a fruitful exercise. I was however equally intrigued by the questions whether and what a disability perspective could contribute to the history of humanitarianism. It was mainly during the second week of the academy that I started to formulate a preliminary answer to these questions. Continue reading “Disability, development, and humanitarianism”→
The Munich Crisis and the People: International, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives
Humanities Research Institute (HRI), University of Sheffield, 29-30 June 2018
Recent events in international politics have highlighted the intricate interconnectedness between diplomatic crises and public opinion, notably public expressions of emotion. As the 80th anniversary of the Munich Crisis approaches, this conference will revisit this ‘model’ crisis and its aftermath, exploring both its lessons and its contemporary resonance. Few diplomatic incidents, before or since, have aroused such public excitement as the events of September 1938 and yet the ‘public’, the ‘people’, the ‘material’, and the ‘popular’ have hitherto been marginalised within a historiography that remains dominated by traditional ‘high’ politics perspectives, often reiterating the ‘Guilty Men’ orthodoxy. Recent incursions into the debate have made progress by experimenting with different methodologies, conceptual frameworks, and a greater plurality of sources, yet there has been a noticeable stagnation in original research. A re-evaluation is long overdue, and this conference will tap into the potential that rests in cross-disciplinary approaches and comparative frameworks. Indeed, the most neglected aspects of the crisis – despite the abundance of sources – are the social, cultural, material, and emotional, as well as public opinion. The conference will also internationalise the original ‘Munich moment’, as existing studies are overwhelmingly Anglo- and Western-centric. Continue reading “CFP – The Munich Crisis and the People: International, Transnational and Comparative Perspectives”→
The GHRA 2017 took place from July 10 to 21, 2017 at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz and the Archives of International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. It was organized by FABIAN KLOSE (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), JOHANNES PAULMANN (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz), and ANDREW THOMPSON(University of Exeter) in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with support by the German Historical Institute London.
The GHRA 2017 had thirteen fellows (nine PhD candidates, four Postdocs) selected in a highly competitive application process. They came from Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the USA. They represented a range of disciplinary approaches from International History, Politics, International Relations, and International Law. The Research Academy was joined by ESTHER MÖLLER (Leibniz Institute of European History) as well as JEAN-LUC BLONDEL (formerly of the ICRC) and MARC-WILLIAM PALEN (University of Exeter).
First Week: On Day One, recent research and fundamental concepts of global humanitarianism and human rights were critically reviewed. Participants discussed crucial texts on the historiography of humanitarianism and human rights. Themes included the historical emergence of humanitarianism since the eighteenth century and the troubled relationship between humanitarianism, human rights, and humanitarian intervention. Further, twentieth century conjunctures of humanitarian aid and the colonial entanglements of human rights were discussed. Finally, recent scholarship on the genealogies of the politics of humanitarian protection and human rights since the 1970s was assessed, also with a view on the challenges for the 21st century. Continue reading “Report – Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) 2017”→
You must be logged in to post a comment.