Empires and Humanitarianism: 20 May, University of Bristol

University of Bristol, 20th May 2011, 11 am – 6 pm.

A one-day workshop, hosted by the University of Bristol Centre for the Study of Colonial and Post-colonial Societies.

The workshop offers fresh interpretations of the relationship between empires and humanitarian action.  It discusses the extent to which empires have been constitutive of humanitarian efforts from antislavery to the present day. It also addresses how far humanitarian efforts shaped the ways in which colonisers viewed their empires, and themselves. The workshop will address key questions surrounding the role of humanitarian groups within empires: should they be viewed as agents of empire, or a moral check upon imperial expansion? Conversely, were empires regarded as incidental to humanitarian action? Did imperial infrastructures simply enable the enactment of pre-established humanitarian concerns? The workshop seeks not only to address the practices and ideals of humanitarian actors, but also to explore the agency and subjectivity of the objects of their concern.

Three panels will consider Humanitarian Action and Formal Empire, the Legacies of Empire in International Humanitarian Action and Humanitarian Geographies: The Imperial as Transnational? The day will conclude with an open discussion, at which all attendees are invited to share and discuss issues raised throughout the day and within their own research.

The day includes papers from Professor Clare Midgley, Professor Alan Lester, Dr Rob Skinner, Dr Rebecca Gill and Dr Richard Huzzey.

The cost of attendance will be £10, though postgraduate bursaries may be available. Please contact Emily.Baughan@bristol.ac.uk; Rob.Skinner@bristol.ac.uk



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