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Gendering Humanitarian Knowledge

Global Histories of Compassion from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present

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Published on Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The conference invites scholars to think about the notion of "humanitarian knowledge" in a multidisciplinary way, by combining perspectives such as gender history, the histories ofemotions and the body, literary and visual culture studies, global health history, as well as the history of institutions and their agents. All of them are useful to explore the transnational networks through which humanitarian practices and ideas have been promoted, disseminated and standardised.The conference brings together scholars interested in working on the history of humanitarian knowledge from a gender perspective. The interventions deal with stories of flesh and blood, which put women’s and men’s humanitarian experiences at their centre, in order to inscribe their local practices within a global history of compassion from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.


Friday, 20 April 2018

8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:30 Welcome and Introduction

What history of humanitarian relief?

  • Gian Marco Vidor (iEH2, University of Geneva)

The faces of compassion in Sarah Monod’s drawings during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)

  • Dolores Martín Moruno (iEH2, University of Geneva)

9:30-10:15 Keynote 1

Introduction: Dolores Martín Moruno (University of Geneva)

Feminism and humanitarianism in contention? Some episodes from British women's history, c.1880-1940

  • Anne Summers (Birkbeck College, University of London)

10:45–12:15 Panel 1. Women Humanitarians: Heroines, Angels or Whores?

  • Chair: Davide Rodogno (Graduate Institute, Geneva)

Female humanitarian work during the Carlist War (1872-1876): Concepción Arenal and the Ladies’ Section of Spanish Red Cross

  • Jon Arrizabalaga (IMF-CSIC, Barcelona)

Angels or harridans? Dr Hilda Clark and Edith Pye, female physicians in the First World War

  • Linda Palfreeman (Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Valencia)

Between holy and whore. Female nursing during WWI

  • Leo van Bergen (Netherlands Institute for Military History/Dutch Veterans Institute)

12:15-13:00 Keynote 2

  • Introduction: Gian Marco Vidor (University of Geneva)

The emotional labour of doing relief work and writing about it: Emily Hobhouse's 'martyr complex’, 1899 -1926

  • Rebecca Gill (Huddersfield University)

14:30-16:00 Panel 2: Female Compassion as Humanitarian Action

  • Chair: Bertrand Taithe (University of Manchester)

Temperance unions for mothers of every nation. Sword of compassion, shield of sisterhood and smashed saloons

  • Audrey Bonvin (University of Fribourg)

An examination of Belgian nurses and godmothers: their emotional battle in the Great War

  • Marie Leyder (iEH2/Institute of Gender Studies, University of Geneva)

Motherly humanitarians and Gold Coast Mothers: the Red Cross and maternal and infant welfare, c.1930-1950

  • Holly Ashford (University of Cambridge)

16:30-18:00 Panel 3: Intersectionality Meets Humanitarians Knowledge

  • Chair: Irène Hermann (University of Geneva)

British women’s Armenian relief work (1894-1897): An attempt at a multi-layered gendered approach of humanitarian knowledge

  • Stéphanie Prévost (Paris-Diderot University)

Health, gender and the Jewish nation in humanitarian practice after the Great War

  • Jaclyn Granick (University of Oxford)

Female nurses, male doctors: Gendering humanitarian relief in Southern Republican Spain during the Civil War (1936-1939)

  • Xavier García Ferrandis (Universidad Católica de Valencia)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

8:45-9:30 Keynote 3

  • Introduction: Jon Arrizabalaga (IMF-CSIC, Barcelona)

Gendering the business practices of aristocratic humanitarians, the Stafford House Committee 1875-1885

  • Bertrand Taithe (University of Manchester)

9:30-11:00 Panel 4: Glocal Reflections on Humanitarian Knowledge

Chair: Valérie Gorin (CERAH/University of Geneva)

Taking care of strangers: feelings of compassivity in Catholic voluntarism among the Daughters of Charity in Spain and Cuba,


  • Carlos Zuñiga Nieto (Max Planck Institute for the Human Development)

A woman’s grace: Emily Keene and British imperialism in Morocco

  • Francisco Javier Martínez Antonio (Universidade de Evora, Portugal)

Humanitarian careers of Swiss women medical graduates in the first half of the 20th century Africa and India

  • Natalia Tikhonov Sigrist (Vllaams Akademisch Centrum, Belgium)

11:30-13.00 Panel 5: Gendering Exiles: Experience as Humanitarian Knowledge

Chair: Luís Manuel Calvo Salgado (University of Zurich)

Gendering the Spanish exile in Post-War France: the surgeon María Gómez in the Hospital Varsovia of Toulouse 

  • Àlvar Martínez-Vidal (Universitat de València)

Traumatic pain: air raids, separation anxiety and the influence of Anna Freud’s Hampstead War Nurseries

  • Leticia Fernández Fontecha (Columbia University, USA)

Ukrainian women in relief work in refugee camps during WWII

  • Oleksandra Kunovska Mondoux (University of Fribourg/World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations)

13:00-13:15 Final Discussion



  • Uni Bastion - Auditoire B111 - Rue De-Candolle 5
    Geneva, Switzerland (1211)


  • Friday, April 20, 2018
  • Saturday, April 21, 2018


  • History of Humanitarian Aid; Humanitarian Practices; Humanitarian Knowledge; Gender History; History of Emotions;


  • Gian Marco Vidor
    courriel : regardingthepainofothers [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Dolorés Martin Moruno
    courriel : Dolores [dot] MartinMoruno [at] unige [dot] ch

Information source

  • Gian Marco Vidor
    courriel : regardingthepainofothers [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Gendering Humanitarian Knowledge », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, https://calenda.org/439713

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