Dr Laure Humbert, Principal Investigator

Laure is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Manchester. She is interested in the history of humanitarian aid, gender and population displacements. Her most recent work examines the everyday encounters between French officials, members of new international organizations, relief workers, defeated Germans and Displaced Persons, who remained in the territory of the French occupation zone in the aftermath of the Second World War. (Reinventing French Aid: The Politics of Humanitarian Relief in French-Occupied Germany, 1945-1952, Cambridge University Press, 2021, available here). This research has opened a number of key questions pertaining to the use of aid by French resistance elites prior to 1945, which provided the impetus for this project. Follow Laure on twitter or email Laure.humbert@manchester.ac.uk

Recent relevant publications :

– Introduction ‘Beyond de Gaulle and Beyond London: The French External Resistance and its international networks’, European Review of HistoryRevue européenne d’histoire, co-written with Dr. Charlotte Faucher, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2018), pp. 195-221. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13507486.2017.1411336 )

– The French in exile and Post-war International relief, c. 1941-1945’, The Historical Journal, Vol. 61, No. 4 (2018), pp. 1041-1064. ( https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/historical-journal/article/french-in-exile-and-postwar-international-relief-c-19411945/21364DB6E6120C96E602214C00FE824A )

Professor Bertrand Taithe, Co-Investigator

Bertrand is Professor of Cultural History and Director of the Humanitarian Conflict and Response Institute (HCRI). Bertrand’s research interests include the history of medicine, the history of missions and colonisation in the French colonial empire and the history of humanitarian aid more widely defined. His work within HCRI is driven by a desire to bring together humanitarian practitioners, non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, theoreticians, policymakers, and analysts in sustained intellectual engagement. (https://www.hcri.manchester.ac.uk)

Recent relevant publications:

– ‘Humanitarian Desire, Masculine Character and Heroics’,  in Esther Möller, Johannes Paulmann and Katharina Stornig eds Gendering Humanitarianism: Politics, Practice, and Empowerment during the Twentieth Century (London: Palgrave, 2020), pp. 35-59.

– Les Émotions humanitaires’ in Jean-Jacques Courtine, Alain Corbin, Georges Vigarello, Histoires des Émotions, Vol 3 (Paris: Le Seuil, 2017), pp, 364-381

Dr Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Co-Investigator

Marie-Luce is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Geneva. She is interested in the history of the Red Cross in Sub-Saharan Africa and the complex legacies of key figures of the French external Resistance in this region. Her book on the history of humanitarian aid in Biafra ( L’humanitaire en guerre civile. La crise du Biafra (1967-1970) was published in 2018. She was awarded the prize « jeune chercheur » of the Fondation Croix-Rouge française in 2018. She is currently working on a project on ‘Histories of Child-Saving in Africa: (Mis-)Understanding Childhood in Humanitarian Aid and Developmental Programmes, c.1935-2014’ with the University of Exeter.

Recent relevant publications:

– Co-editor of the special issue « Civiliser, développer, aider. Croiser l’histoire du colonialisme, du développement et de l’humanitaire», Histoire@Politique , 41, 2020 (with Dr. Damiano Matasci). https://www.histoire-politique.fr

–  « Entre ambitions universalistes et préjugés racistes. La mission du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge en Afrique méridionale et centrale au début des années 1960, Histoire@Politique, 41, 2020 ( https://www.histoire-politique.fr/index.php?numero=41&rub=dossier&item=384 )

Dr Raphaële Balu, Research Associate (June 2021 – October 2022), Research Affiliate (from October 2022)

Raphaële is interested in the history of the French Resistance during World War Two, in its cooperation with British and American services, and in the theories and realities of irregular war. She was awarded the prize for the best PhD in Military History by the French Ministry of Defence and is currently working on a monograph adaptation of this work (“Maquis de France, France libre et Alliés (1943-1945): retrouver la coopération”, Perrin, forthcoming).  Her interest for the daily life and war experiences of men and women sent behind enemy lines led her to investigate medical care within the underground resistance.

After working as a Research Associate for a year on this project,  Raphaële became a postdoctoral fellow at the Sorbonne University in October 2022, where she works as Editorial Manager of the Digital Encyclopedia of European History EHNE.

Recent relevant publications:

« Les maquisards de France pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, combattants irréguliers ou armée de la nation ? », ed. Raphaëlle Branche and Julie Le Gac, special issue of 20&21, revue d’histoire, 2019/1 (n°141), 81-95.

« Militaires en résistance et maquisards de France : les identités combattantes à l’épreuve de la Seconde Guerre mondiale », in Claire Miot, Guillaume Piketty et Thomas Vaisset (dir.), Militaires en résistances en France et en Europe, Lille, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2020.

Steering Committee

Professor Martin Thomas, University of Exeter

Dr Claire Eldridge, University of Leeds

Professor Ana Carden-Coyne, University of Manchester

Dr Steven Pierce, University of Manchester


Dr Charlotte Faucher, BA Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Manchester

Latest articles: Transnational cultural propaganda: French cultural policies in Britain during the Second World War (https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/fpcs/37/1/fpcs370104.xml)

Restoring the image of France in Britain, 1944-1947


Dr Frances Houghton, Simon Fellow, University of Manchester

Latest blog: Vaccinating Jack Tar: the Royal Navy versus ‘Anti-Vaxxers’ during the Second World War


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