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

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?


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’

3:30-4:00pm Coffee Break

4:00-5:30pm Panel I: Eighteenth Century
Mirjam Thulin (Mainz), ‘More than Charity: The Two Dimensions of Tzedakah, c. 1750-1850’
Katie Jarvis (Notre Dame), ‘Corrupt Privileges, Civic Duties, or Earned Exemptions? Socioeconomic Assistance in the Marketplace during the French Revolution’
Chair: Charles Walton (Warwick)

6:00pm Dinner

Friday, September 29, 2017

09:00-10:30am Panel II: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
Katharina Stornig (Gießen), ‘Catholic Anti-slavery Activism Between Charity, Humanitarianism and Rights-based Approaches in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries’
Scott Newton (London), ‘Rights without Entitlements: the Forgotten History of Solidary Social Protection in the USSR’
Chair: Gregor Feindt (Mainz)

10:30-11:00am Coffee Break

11:00-12:00am Keynote Lecture II:
Jan Eckel (Tübingen), ‘Human Rights and Socioeconomic Rights – Convergences and Tensions in the 20th Century’

12:00-1:00pm Lunch Break

1:00-2:30pm Panel III: Mid-Twentieth Century
Daniel Maul (Oslo), ‘A People’s Peace in a People’s War – the ILO and the Emergence of Social Rights in the Declaration of Philadelphia 1944.’
Silvia Salvatici (Milan), ‘From Charity to Welfare. UNRRA in Postwar Italy’
Chair: Fabian Klose (Mainz)

2:30-3:00pm Coffee Break

3:00-4:30pm Panel IV: Second Half of the Twentieth Century
Kevin O’Sullivan (Galway), ‘Charity or Justice? NGOs and the Future of Humanitarian Aid, 1968–73’
Bertrand Taithe (Manchester), ‘What Roles for Humanitarian Medicine, Protection and Rights to Health? From Alma Ata to Quality of Care Debates’
Andrew Jones (Warwick), ‘Humanitarian Charity in the Neoliberal Marketplace’
Chair: Claudia Stein (Warwick)

4:30-5:00pm Final discussion: Johannes Paulmann (Mainz)

PD Dr. Fabian Klose

Cite this blog post
Fabian Klose (2017, September 26). International Conference: Humanitarianism and Charity. Expressions of or Alternatives to Socioeconomic Rights? Europe Across Borders. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.