Second Canadian Workshop on the History of Humanitarian Aid, May 30 2015

Saturday, May 30 2015 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT), 1125@carleton, fourth floor, HCI building, Carleton University , 1125 Colonel By Drive , Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

grenfell ESC1F1
Grenfell Stamp 2

Commemorative stamps for Wilfred Grenfell, British medical missionary in Newfoundland from 1892 to the 1930s, with the The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. See

Dear Canadian colleagues interested in the history of humanitarian aid, As you are in the process for making your plans for traveling to Ottawa for  Congress 2015  in early June, we are pleased to announce that Carleton will host the second small workshop for Canadians interested in the matter. This will be the occasion to: – exchange our respective research, practices and collections between historians, archivists and humanitarians; – take store of the projects of our partners in Europe, thanks to the presence of Kevin O’Sullivan, from the University of Ireland in Gallway; – think about improvements to the project of the common website we put together last summer; – help prepare the collaborative research grant I am putting together for the fall on researching, collecting and teaching the history of humanitarian aid in Canada There will be refreshments and food for lunch and breaks, the possibility of small grants for the extra nights for graduate students (do write to me if you would like to apply with a possible amount). Please register for the event here.

Thanks to the coordinating work of Sarah Glassford, Will Tait and Jill-Campbell-Miller, Congress will have at least three sessions of interest for our groups:

Tuesday June 2, 1:30-300

69. Roundtable – Public, Private, Political: Charitable Organizations and Citizen Engagement

Facilitator / Animateur : Lara Campbell, Simon Fraser University Sarah Glassford (University of Prince Edward Island)

Ian Mosby (McMaster University)

Will Tait (Carleton University)

Shirley Tillotson (Dalhousie University)

Jon Weier (University of Western Ontario)

Tuesday June 2, 3:30-4:30

77. Presidential Address / Discours présidentiel , Introduced by / Présentée par: Joan Sangster (Trent University)

Dominique Marshall (President of the Canadian Historical Association): Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibitions/ Dominique Marshall (Présidente de la Société historique du Canada): Dessins d’enfants et aide humanitaire : expressions et expositions transnationales

Wednesday June 3, 3:30-5:30 - SMD/222

11. Capitals and Peripheries: Historical Perspectives on International Development Facilitator / Animateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Stephanie Bangarth (Western University): “Is our assistance worthwhile?”: The Role of Tripartisanship in the Canadian Response to Refugee and International Development Crises, 1968 – 1978

Jill Campbell-Miller (Saint Mary’s University): Integrating History and International Development Studies: Lessons from the Canadian-Indian Aid Experience

John F. Devlin (University of Guelph): State Theory, Historical Sociology, and Comparative Agricultural Development

Kevin O’Sullivan (National University of Ireland Galway): Searching for a Saviour: Humanitarian NGOs and Human Rights in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s

Commentator / Commentateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) and the Canadian Council on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism / Coparrainée par l’Association canadienne d’études du développement international (ACÉDI) et par le Comité canadien sur la migration, l’éthnicité et le transnationalisme

We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Read our tribute to the scholarly work of Bettina Bradbury, my doctoral supervisor, on the occasion of her retirement

Last June, four of Bettina’s former graduate students met at the Canadian Historical Association‘s Annual meeting the time of a roundtable about her work.  The oldest of them all, I spoke – in French – of the way she supervised my research in the late 1980s, and about supervision in general.  Labour/Le travail published our roundtable this week.  You may read our contributions here.

In addition, thanks to the tireless radio work of Sean Graham, Active History posted an audio recording of the roundtable last month, which included, at the end, Bettina’s own comments.

Some of these thoughts were about retirement, a topic about which the President of the American Historical Association, Jan Goldstein, wrote eloquently about in her October 2014 column of the AHA’s Bulletin, Perspectives on History, in generous ways that converged with Bettina’s.

Bettina is retiring shortly, and she gave a talk on her work at her university, York, last year, entitled “Twists, Turns and Tall Shoulders”

Her colleagues organized a symposium on her work last Winter, with a wonderful program. You can find the program here..

She also became a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada last year, and gave a shorter talk then.

One day workshop to welcome Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish historian of humanitarian aid, July 9, 2014

Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan will be a visiting scholar at Carleton University from July 8 to August 4, to research Canadian archives.  Kevin is the architect of the rich , a founding member of ‘Transnational Ireland’ International Research Network and the author of many studies of Irish humanitarianism.   He is researching countries of the Commonwealth.


The workshop will take place in the History Lounge (Paterson Hall 433 – see Map of Carleton’s  Campus)


We will start at 8:30 in the morning and finish at supper time.  There will  be three distinct themes (research, future collaborations with archives and NGOS and teaching), in addition to a presentation by Kevin on his work and the state of affairs amongst his colleagues.  The following day, Dr. O”Sullivan will have individual appointments of an hour each with the graduate students participants who wish to meet with him.


This will be an occasion to exchange concerns, findings, information about archives and documents, practices and projects, collaborations with communities.


Carleton doctoral candidate and our research assistant Will Tait, and I will coordinate the day.  There will be food for all participants.  We do not have too much money, but do tell me if you would need assistance for your travel and accommodation.  We can also direct you to some hotels and Bed and breakfasts or residence rooms.


Kevin would like to visit the various NGO archives available in Ottawa, and also to work on materials relating to CIDA-NGO relations in the National Archives.  This will also be an occasion to assist him.


The number of places is limited.  If you would like to register, please contact me at dominique_marshall [at]

Press HERE to visit the password protected participants’ page (passwords and further instructions will be sent to those who register).

Thanks: We wish to thank the following institutions for their financial support:

*For more Red Cross Stamps, see the Pinterest page.

My Course on the history of humanitarian aid starts today


This course surveys the history of humanitarian agencies from their missionary and anti-slavery ancestors to the present times.  It teaches students the vocabulary useful for the understanding of humanitarianism. It introduces them to the historiography of the subject, the debates, approaches, explanations and interpretations of the major scholars, and the documents they use to write this history.  It presents the main events, the actors, ideas, institutions, and questions. It helps make sense of the current situation of humanitarian aid, which is complex and controversial, and which represents an increasingly large domain of social life and public action.

See outline