CfP: Humanitarian Organizations: (Hi)Stories, Impact and Challenges

Call for papers, deadline 5 January 2021

GIRES, the Global Institute for Research, Education & Scholarship creates a welcoming space for discussion and exploration of the rich history of the humanitarian organizations and their work during times of distress.

Our new international conference seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners in order to remember stories from the long history of humanitarian assistance offered by organizations such as UNICEF, International Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal, Oxfam and Doctors without Frontiers in all over the world. We wish to explore their impact in shaping global citizenship and highlight the importance of their work for the support of people both in conflicts and natural catastrophes. In desperate times not only they have overcame the (geo)political and national obstacles and helped people survive but also protected legacies by recording stories and memories creating unique sources of information.

We hope that during our conference we will shed light upon cases and stories that will help us understand not only the ways the organizations supported homeless, starving, and wounded people but also safeguarded unique evidence that in many cases was later used in trials against the authorities and saved the memory of the incidents for future generations. We also hope that we will present the work of the unnamed heroes who, despite difficulties and hostility, helped their fellow citizens survive and set a reminder of the universal importance of humanitarian aid.

We invite scholars from different fields including history, philosophy, religion, sociology, international relations, literature, art, space studies, peace studies, cultural studies, minority studies, war and/or genocide studies, journalism, immigration studies, psychology and psychiatry, political and social studies, and those working in archives, museums and NGOs.

Proposed Topics

- Volunteerism and professionalism in humanitarian aid; boundaries and limitations
- Historiography and humanitarian aid
- First-hand experiences/ material (including photos, videos and documents)
- Re-examining and re-writing history through the lens of Red Cross/Crescent stories
- Ethical dilemmas in practicing humanitarian aid
- Exploring the Red Cross/Crescent archives: (un)hidden treasures
- Aid workers: dealing with trauma
- The psychology of a aid workers/help seekers
- Teaching humanitarian history
- The role of the movement in modern migration crisis
- Case studies of humanitarian assistance (conflicts and natural disasters)
- Humanitarian aid workers: their role in saving oral testimonies and shaping history
- Arts and humanitarianism
- Humanitarian aid during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Technology in the service of humanitarianism
- States/Regimes against humanitarian organizations

Proposed Formats (Lingua franca: English)

- Individually submitted papers (organized into panels by the GIRES committee)
- Panels (3-4 individual papers)
- Roundtable discussions (led by one of the presenters)
- Posters

Our proposed topics & formats are not restrictive and we invite additional germane ideas

Due to the restrictions of Corona Crisis our event (for the time being) will take place VIRTUALLY (GIRES' online platform)