Actualités | 2015

Jeremy Adelman - Humanitarianism and historiography

Lundi 14 décembre de 14h-16h30 - Les Rencontres du GEHM


Les Rencontres du GEHM porteront sur un chapitre du projet de livre en cours de Jeremy Adelman sur The World: The Making of an Idea, consacré à « Humanitarianism and historiography ». Il sera notamment centré sur l'engagement de Roger Casement, et sa croisade en faveur des peuples congolais et amazonien au tournant des années 1900. Aux sources de l'humanitarisme moderne se trouve la description des atrocités coloniales face auxquelles le Mahatma Gandhi, drapé dans un simple drap de coton, s'est dressé devenant l'icône globale du regard pacifiste porté sur les autres. En en suivant les différents moments jusque dans les années 1970, Jeremy Adelman propose de saisir les conditions d'émergence du concept de « citoyenneté globale ».


This lecture is about how imaginers learned to challenge the sovereignty of other states to violate the rights of other citizens.  Roger Casement was an avatar of a new humanitarian age in the 1900s.  The Irish crusader championed the rights of Congolese and Amazonian natives exploited and brutalized to enrich others.  His reports were among the most sensational exposés of atrocities in far away places, linking London shareholders to the torture of Yanomami Indians.  They were joined by images and writings of massacres of Christians under Ottoman rule and Herero people under the heel of German imperial troops.  Modern humanitarianism began with the reports of colonial atrocities; Mahatma Gandhi, clad in rustic cotton, became the global icon of peaceful regard for others.  As imperial wars came home to Europe, the savagery of world war pulled the veil back on the scale of state violence against civilians.  In 1944, a Polish-Jewish lawyer coined the term “genocide,” forever changing the language of humanitarianism and opening the path to considering obligations to protect others.  The idea gathered force with the entwined decolonization of the Third World and the furor caused by Hannah Arendt’s concept of the banality of evil; dealing with atrocities meant confronting what makes man violent.  The paradox of the 1970s was that just as imaginers were backing away from redistributionist solutions to global inequality, they fastened on a discourse of human rights and invigorated civic movements that would sire the concept of global citizenship.


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