Online Workshop – Rethinking the history of Violence, Health and Care in Wartime, c. 1860-2000s.

Understandings of the impacts of attacks on healthcare have changed significantly within the last ten years. Amid an ongoing cycle of commemorative events for the adoption of the Resolution 2286 by the UN Security Council on the Protection of civilians in armed conflict, academic and public interest in the impact of attacks on healthcare is growing. The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars working on the topic of violence, health and care in wartime and discuss the new approaches that historians have taken to examine the framing, impacts and legacies of violence and attacks on medical spaces. Participants will bring fruitful new elements to the ongoing reflections about the definition and impacts of attacks against healthcare, while offering valuable new perspectives on the history of violence and health in wartime. 

9h30 – 10h00. Welcome and Introduction: Rethinking the history of Violence, Health and Care in Wartime, c. 1860-2000s (Bertrand Taithe and Laure Humbert)

10h00 – 10h40. Keynote: Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds)‘Nursing Under Fire: Nurses and nursing orderlies in First World War combat zones’


10h50 – 11h40. First panel : Wartime Violence and the Politics of Neutrality on the ground

 Lia Brazil (Nuffield College Oxford). ‘Swapping Red Cross badge for bandolier and gun’: Red Cross men in the SouthAfrican War, 1899 – 1902

 Ana Carden-Coyne (University of Manchester). ‘Volatile Spaces and Myths of Safety: Hospital Ships and the GenderedZones of Total War (1914-1918)’

11h40 – 12h30. Second panel: Neutrality under Fire and the Materiality of Attacks

Frances Houghton (University of Manchester). ‘For Those in Peril…’: Naval doctors, Medical Neutrality and the War at Sea, 1939-1945’

Roderick Bailey (University of Oxford). ‘Gross abominable bestiality’: Axis targeting of Partisan healthcare in Yugoslavia, 1941-44.

12h30 – 13h00. Concluding thoughts on the first two panels (Duncan McLean, MSF): Historical Antecedents to Understanding Contemporary Attacks on Healthcare


13h45 – 15h00. Third panel: Beyond Genevan Humanitarianism? Revisiting the history of medical neutrality

Leonard Rubenstein (Johns Hopkins). ‘ The stubborn persistence of military necessity to rationalise violence against healthcare’

–  Linsey Robb (Northumbria). ‘I’ll fight it by trying to mend the damage’: conscientious objectors and the militarymedical services during the Second World War

 Xavier Crombé (MSF). Once were warriors: analysing the changing representations of volunteer doctors at war in twodocumentary films: Heart of Spain (1937) and Witness to War – Dr Charlie Clements (1984)

15h10 – 16h25. Fourth panel: Documenting Attacks in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

 Benoit Pouget (Sciences Po, Aix). In the midst of post-colonial violence: French military medical assistance in 1970s conflicts

Yolana Pringle (University of Roehampton). ‘Documenting violence against mental health in Africa, 70s-90s’

Melanie Sauter (European University Institute). Politicized Healthcare Emergencies and Violent Resistance againstHealthcare. The Case of Violence against Ebola Responders in the DR Congo


16h40– 17h40 Concluding Roundtable. New directions in the history of violence, heath and care in wartime

– Neve Gordon (Queen Mary, University of London); Xavier Crombé (MSF); Róisín Read (University of Manchester); Bertrand Taithe (HCRI, University of Manchester); Laure Humbert (History, University of Manchester)

Click here to register

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