One-day symposium at the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po (Paris, France)
Proposals by: 21.09.2019
Historical research on voluntary or non-government organisations and their contribution to the reconstruction of states, communities and humanitarian assistance to civilian populations following conflicts, epidemics and disasters through the 20th century has generally focused on non-Western European countries. The historiography suggests that it is mostly in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa that natural or man-made disasters have occurred, and that these places have been the focus for humanitarian assistance. The major geographical spheres of interest for Red Cross societies and non-government organisations to provide assistance to populations in times of severe crises do not generally include Western Europe, except for World War II. Rather, the humanitarian enterprise is viewed through the binary of the Global North/Global South, those who save and those who are saved.
This symposium intends to explore the ways in which non-government organisations have contributed to the reconstruction, and care for populations, in Western European countries. It seeks to investigate how the Red Cross movement – the League of Red Cross Societies | International Federation of Red Cross | Red Crescent, the International Committee of Red Cross and individual national societies – alongside other voluntary organisations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Save the Children and a range of other international and local non-government bodies, have contributed to reconstruction in these countries at both national and local levels following times of crises such as wars, civilian upheavals and natural disasters.
Here, reconstruction is not understood in its narrow and literal sense of the rebuilding of infrastructure, or the return to a previous state of being. Rather, Continue reading