Conference on Gender & Humanitarianism at the Leibniz Institute of European History

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.

Convenors: Esther Möller (Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Mainz) and Katharina Stornig (Giessen)

Programmflyer-Gender-and-Humanitarianism (pdf)

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Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice

Cross-posted from imperialglobalexeter and humanitarianism & human rights

Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin (eds.), Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016. 324 pp. £75 (hardback), ISBN: 9783525101452

Reviewed by Ben Holmes (University of Exeter)

What Does it Mean to Act With Humanity?

What does it mean to belong to the human race? Does this belonging bring with it particular rights as well as responsibilities? What does it mean to act with humanity? These are some of the big questions lying at the heart of a new edited collection from Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present (2016). Based on a 2015 conference at the Leibniz Institute in Mainz, the book, as the title suggests, is not a purely conceptual history of the term ‘humanity’.[1] Rather it looks to discover ‘the concrete implications of theoretical discourses on the concept of humanity’ [page 18]. In other words, how did ideas of ‘humanity’ guide European practices in areas like humanism, imperialism, international law, humanitarianism, and human rights?[2] The editors argue that despite the implied timeless, universal nature of the term, humanity is both a changing, dynamic concept, and has been prone to create divisions as much as it promotes commonality. Although the volume is a study of European conceptions of humanity, the contributions are transnational, displaying how conceptions of humanity were practiced in Europe and in the continent’s interactions with the wider world over the course of five-hundred years.

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Graduate Workshop 2017/18 at Leibniz Institute of European History

European History across Boundaries from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century

Conveners: Gregor Feindt, Johannes Paulmann (Mainz) and Lyndal Roper (Oxford)
Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany
Date: 24 – 26 January 2018
Deadline for Applications: 16 July 2017

CfP Graduate Workshop 2017_2018 pdf

The Leibniz Institute of European History invites international PhD students to a workshop on European history across boundaries from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, including Europe’s relations with the world. We encourage researchers working in this field to present their dissertation 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 Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), an independent research institution in Mainz (Germany), contributes to this new approach from an interdisciplinary perspective. It fosters research on the religious, social, and political dynamics in Europe from the early modern period into the twentieth century and focusses on processes of establishing, coping with and enabling difference. The Graduate Workshop 2017/18 takes place in cooperation with Lyndal Roper, Regius Chair of History at the University of Oxford.

At the workshop, we will discuss pre-circulated papers based on archival research (max. 8,000 words, written in English, submitted by 7 January 2018). The institute will provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop and contribute to travel expenses within Europe.

Proposals should include an abstract of the overall project and its archival sources (500 words) plus a brief biographical note (including institutional affiliation, thesis supervisors, and contact details). These documents should be sent in one pdf-file to Gregor Feindt – feindt@ieg-mainz.de – by no later than 16 July 2017. For any questions, please contact the organisers.

CfP Graduate Workshop 2017_2018 pdf

Cosmopolitanism: Provincializing a Eurocentric Concept & Bringing Norms Back

‘But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street. But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word “citizenship” means.’

Theresa May’s anti-cosmopolitan statement in defence of Brexit in October 2016 stands in stark contrast to one of her great predecessor’s declaration, Winston Churchill, who in May 1948 pronounced in Amsterdam: ‘We hope to see a Europe where men of every country will think as much of being a European as belonging to their native land, and that without losing any part of their love and loyalty to their birthplace. We hope wherever they go in this wide domain, to which we set no limits in the European continent, they will truly feel “Here I am at home. I am a citizen of this country too”.’

May’s attack on world citizenship rejects Enlightenment values going back to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who propagated the ideal as a means to achieve peace and famously propagated hospitality as a right of world citizenship. As Jeremy Adler pointed out in the Guardian the pejorative sense of cosmopolitanism adopted by the Prime Minister echoes the stigmatizing accusation of rootlessness that marked German, and later Soviet, anti-semitic discourse. In the 19th century the ‘rootless Jew’ was seen as a ‘cosmopolitan’ citizen from ‘nowhere’. Continue reading

Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy

Out Now – Open Access

The new issue of the European History Yearbook on “Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century” has been published.

ed. by Harriet Rudolph and Gregor M. Metzig;

with contributions by:

 

The open access volume outlines a new field of research with regard to the history of diplomacy: the material culture of diplomatic interaction in early modern and modern times. The material culture of diplomacy includes all practices in foreign policy communication in which single artifacts, samples of artifacts, or the whole material setting of diplomatic interaction is constitutive for creating an effect in terms of diplomatic objectives. Continue reading

‘The colonial past is never dead. It’s not even past’

Matthew G. Stanard (Berry College) on ‘Histories of Empire, Decolonization, and European Cultures after 1945’, in the recent issue of European History Yearbook (open access), addresses the theme of imperial legacies and the persistence of empire in the former imperial metropoles of Europe through the lens of three recent publications.

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Elizabeth Buettner, Europe after Empire. Decolonization, Society, and Culture (2016)

It is a timely choice to publish an essay on the topic because there seems to be a generational change. The books in the centre of the article reflect this change, with Bill Schwarz in one group, Elizabeth Buettner in the other, and the volume edited by Kalypso Nikolaïdes, Berny Sèbe, and Gabrielle Maas combining both. The theme treated in Stanard’s essay has been a vibrant field of research over the last quarter of a century, and the study of Empire and its reflection has recently been boosted by an astonishing degree of self-reflective books and articles by some of the foremost practicioners of imperial history. Apart from the book project by Bill Schwarz one could also mention the recently published How Empire shaped us (2016), by Antoinette Burton and Dane Kennedy. Such reflections are about justification as much as they are about securing a legacy, and they indicate that, among other things, the interest in the topic and the paradigms chosen for its analysis have a lot to do with the generational experience of scholars who often had imperial family roots in the empire. This is as true for a defining generation of white male British imperial historians as for those academic and intellectual migrants who articulated their presence in the centre and tried to subvert the dichotomy of colonizer and colonized under the banner of postcolonialism. Continue reading

Citizenship and Belonging in Europe – Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – PhD candidates in the Humanities and Cultural Studies as well as in the Social Sciences and Law to present their dissertation projects and to discuss their ideas in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment overlooking Lake Como. Venue: Villa Vigoni, Menaggio, Como, Italy, Date: 20-24 November 2017
Deadline: 28 February 2017

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Villa Vigoni – the Villa Garvaglio Ricci

In cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German-Italian Center for European Excellence Villa Vigoni has established the Gerda Henkel Academy at Villa Vigoni to discuss past and present challenges of Europe in the political, social and cultural realm. The Academy’s work is dedicated to the theme “From the Ideas on Europe to the European Citizen”. The first graduate workshop of the Gerda Henkel Academy will take place in November 2017 at Villa Vigoni. Continue reading

Europe Across Borders

The blog Europe Across Borders is a forum for historical research on Europe across borders from around 1500 to the present. It advances historical knowledge in present scholarly and public debates.

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The blog posts cross and reflect boundaries not merely between nation states or cultures but also between social, economic, religious, ethnic, gender, and other entities. The blog thus fosters research on the dynamics in Europe from the early modern period into the twentieth century and the immediate past. The blog is open to a broad variety of topics, both with regard to methodological approaches and fields of research. Methodologically, it brings together approaches such as comparative studies, the study of transfer processes and entanglements, the histoire croisée, or international, imperial and global history. Beyond that, the blog takes up all fields of cultural, political, social, economic, environmental and intellectual history throughout Europe in the modern period. It is especially interested in providing a fresh picture on Europe’s place in a globalising world. Continue reading