Humanitarian History

Why and how has humanitarian aid become so popular, widespread and important over the last 75 years?  How and to what extent has it influenced external relations and domestic politics of nations in the North and South?  How have citizens of an ostensibly more democratic North, and those of the newly independent countries of the South, related to modern charitable endeavours and contributed to their construction?  How can this story help us understand the perception that public life and media have become globalized in recent years?   Read more 

1. Canadian Network of Humanitarian History

I coordinate this multidisciplinary group of – mainly – Canadian people, interested in the History of humanitarian aid, in academia, archives and NGOs. In May 2017, the CNHH became an affiliated committee to the Canadian Historical Association.

2. History of Oxfam in Canada

Oxfam and CIDA

  • ‘CIDA Brings you the World! ‘Children’s Reception of Humanitarian Photographs of Children: 1980-2000”, Panel on Histories of Humanitarianism and (Visual) Media, Annual Meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, University of Regina, 29 May 2018.
  • “Oxfam et CIDA: aide humanitaire et formation de l’État canadien 1965-2015”, Communication présentée au colloque “A Samaritan State Rvevisited”,  Ottawa, Affaires Globales Canada, 12-13  Décembre 2016.

– Oxfam St John’s

From 2014, I have collaborated with employees and volunteers of Oxfam St John’s to record and start writing their history.

– Previous Oxfam projects

In 2012-13, I gave a series of lunch talk at the headquarters of Oxfam.

  • “Oxfam and First Nations, 1960-1975,” 1 October 2012. With Julia Sterparn.
  • “A Radiography of Canada’s Humanitarian Public in 1962-1963: Oxford’s Lynn Ten-Kate Travels through Canada for Oxfam,” 7 November 2012.
  • “The Henry Fletcher Years, 1966 – 1971: Varieties of British Traditions and the Nature of the Tensions Leading to the Independence of Oxfam Canada,” 12 December 2012.
  • “ Oxfam Canada’s Independences: Histories on the Autonomy from Oxford and on the Creation of Oxfam Quebec (1962-1980) through Documents,” 13 March 2013.
  • “ Oxfam Canada and the Salvadoran Refugees of Honduras, 1980-1989,” 17 April 2013, with Erika Muñoz.

We helped a timeline of the history of Oxfam Canada to build for the NGO’s website in 2016.

oxfam turns 50 jpeg

In 2013, I worked on Oxfam an Indigenous peoples with the assistance of honours’ research assistant Julia Sterparn.  We published the result of our work : “Oxfam Aid to Canada’s First Nations, 1962–1975: Eating Lynx, Starving for Jobs, and Flying a Talking Bird,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Vol. 22, no. 2, 2012, pp. 298-343.

In 2014 I worked on Oxfam Canada in Honduras in the 1980s, together with Erica Muñoz, honours RA.  We presented the result in a paper at the CALACS conference: “Oxfam Canada and the Aid to Salvadoran Refugees in Honduras in the 1980s”

3. Archival Rescue

Since 2014 I have collaborated with Carleton University Archives and Research Collections to rescue and make available the archives of NGOs and humanitarians.  this includes the educational collection of CISa materials (2017), the papers of the Match International Women’s Fonds (2015), and the papers of many CIDA veterans.  I have also worked with the Canadian Hunger Foundation, Oxfam St Johns, and the CIDA Photolibrary, to help make archives more accessible.

-Papers and slides of John Foster, Past Director of Oxfam, 2016-17

-Papers and Slides of Meyer Brownstone, Past Director of Oxfam , 2013

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