In recent years, international humanitarianism has increasingly attracted the interest of historians. A great deal of research has reconstructed the history of aid programmes for those who are victims of war, natural disaster, or economic disadvantage. These studies have, however, mainly examined the experience of donor countries in northern Europe, and the United States, while the countries of southern Europe have largely been overlooked or have mainly been considered as merely passive recipients. This workshop proposes a shift of perspective. It places the countries of Mediterranean Europe at the centre, and it explores the role that humanitarianism has played in the relationships between Southern European countries (with particular reference to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece). The aim is to look at international aid programmes within the region activated in specific critical circumstances (natural disasters, conflicts and economic crises) and to examine the political, economic and cultural reasons for intra-Southern Mediterranean solidarity from the aftermath of World War II to the end of the Cold War. We seek to explore the development of humanitarian programmes from the point of view of both the countries that provided aid and of those that accepted it, believing that the act of accepting aid is not in itself passive. The workshop does not intend to look at the countries of southern Europe in isolation; it rather aims to examine their interactions with international agencies and to examine the intersections between intra-Mediterranean and global humanitarian dynamics. The focus on Southern European humanitarian actors reveals unexplored diplomatic interchanges of welfare, relief, and development strategies to rethink international perceptions of humanitarianism and read beyond Cold War entanglements.
The workshop will provide a collaborative space to discuss humanitarianism through the lens of Southern European actors, policies, practices, and diplomatic spaces. With this aim, we welcome papers that correspond to the following broad themes:
- humanitarian diplomacy and the transnational networks (both formal and informal networks, between institutions, non-governmental organisations, professionals and experts) that connected the countries of Mediterranean Europe
- connections between aid policies, practices and techniques
- the relationship between immediate relief and development aid
- the forms of cooperation, tensions, circulation of knowledge and expertise that have marked the interaction between the different actors of humanitarianism (Southern European government agencies, international organizations, NGOs)
- interconnections between media campaigns, propaganda strategies, and visual humanitarianism
- the role played by religious and political identities of humanitarians in the definition and implementation of aid programmes
- the importance of gender both in determining aid policies and practices and in defining the skills and professional roles of humanitarians
Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV by March 31, 2023 to Silvia Salvatici (Silvia.Salvatici@unifi.it) and Kalliopi Geronymaki (Kalliopi.Geronymaki@alumni.eui.eu)
The conference will take place on May 30-31, 2023 at the University of Florence, Italy. Travel and accommodation will be covered.
Organization: Martin Baumeister (German Historical Institute in Rome), Kalliopi Geronymaki (University of Florence), Silvia Salvatici (University of Florence).
This workshop is organized by the ERC funded project “HumanEuroMed – Humanitarianism and Mediterranean Europe: A Transnational and Comparative History, 1945-1990” (Grant agreement No. 101019166) in cooperation with the German Historical Institute in Rome.