Intersections of Humanitarianism
What does humanitarianism look like when it intersects with the state and the military? Or with the local ways of giving? What sort of help are we dealing with when humanitarian forms of reasoning and practice become intertwined with “that which is not humanitarianism”, to paraphrase Gupta (1995: 393)? Anthropological studies have suggested that a lot of work has to be invested in keeping up the boundaries of humanitarianism (Fassin 2012, Dunn 2018, Gilbert 2016). The result of this work has been a loose network of aid that moves throughout the world and replaces, suspends, or otherwise sidesteps state sovereignties in an attempt to save lives (Redfield and Bornstein 2011, Ticktin 2014, Schuller 2016, Ramsey 2017).
In this workshop, we will focus on what sort of hybrids emerge when, instead of maintaining its boundaries, humanitarianism intersects with other ways of thinking and acting. What kind of politics does this enable or prevent (cf. Feldman 2018)? What types of social dynamics, positions, and exclusions take place in such cases? We invite papers that explore the following five thematic strands:
1. Humanitarianism and voluntarism: What happens when humanitarianism becomes intertwined with vernacular ideas about how to help others (including activism, solidarity, or charity)?
2. Humanitarianism and military: how is the relationship between humanitarian aid and the use of military force evolving in the context of transnational securitization and border management?
3. Humanitarianism and development: How do large-scale humanitarian initiatives relate to developmental projects?
4. Humanitarianism and human rights: How does humanitarianization of state politics and human rights look like?
5. Humanitarianism and religion: Which moral configurations emerge as part of humanitarian projects and how are they related to religious orders?
This will be the first meeting of the Anthropology of Humanitarianism Network (AHN), founded in 2018 by the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), with an aim to provide a platform for a broad discussion on the meanings and practices of humanitarianism and on the possible future directions of an anthropological study of humanitarianism. The kickoff workshop “Intersections of humanitarianism” will provide a venue for the network members to meet in person, share ongoing research, and make plans for the future development of the network.
If you are interested in presenting your research during the workshop, please send an abstract of 200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org as well as a 100-words-bio by 30 June 2019. The workshop is open to the public.
1.-3. November 2019, Göttingen