International peacebuilding consortiums in Nagorny Karabakh, 2003–16
Following the 1991–94 war in and around Nagorny Karabakh, international efforts towards building Armenian–Azerbaijani peace included interventions in the de facto jurisdiction that emerged in the territory. This chapter reflects critically on the wider impacts of interventions, negotiating a fine line between confidence- and capacity-building in the context of an unrecognised state beyond the purview of ‘normal’/normatively configured international intervention. This chapter charts the trajectory of international interventions, focusing on the period 2003–16. The first date marks the onset of the Consortium Initiative (CI), a British-funded collective of NGOs engaged in confidence-building measures; the CI was subsequently replaced by a European-funded initiative in 2010. The chapter draws on the author’s firsthand experience of working in both initiatives, interviews with activists in Nagorny Karabakh conducted over periodic visits to the territory between 2005 and 2015 and local media sources to reflect on the character, impacts and problems associated with the interventions undertaken in Nagorny Karabakh under both initiatives.
The Smith College Relief Unit, Near East Relief and visions of Armenian reconstruction, 1919–21
In 1919, Smith College – a liberal women’s college in Massachusetts – seconded five of its graduates to Near East Relief’s humanitarian operations in the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Once they arrived, the five joined different relief parties and were spread widely throughout Near East Relief’s theatre of operations for the next eighteen months – from the Caucasus to Aleppo, and doing everything from clerical work, to running orphanages and rescue homes, and managing a medical lab. The Smith girls’ correspondence and photograph albums thus give us a rich, bottom-up view of many different fields and facets of NER’s relief operations. This chapter uses the previously unexplored archive of the ‘Smith Unit’ to provide the beginnings of a social history of NER relief workers and relief practices. It focuses on the varying humanitarian visions of NER policy-makers and their different types of relief worker, and the ensuing contestations, collaborations and innovations in practice on the ground. The discussion is framed within debates over the history of relief in Ottoman and post-Ottoman lands, the gendered politics of relief, and the transition from the ‘civilising mission’ to ‘modern’ humanitarianism after the First World War.
Etienne Brasil and Brazilian engagement with Armenia, 1912–22
This chapter examines how a humanitarian agenda towards Armenians arrived in Brazil became part of Brazilian foreign policy through the work of Etienne Brasil. The Armenian cause was incorporated into this policy agenda by a small interest group that had been able to obtain access to decision-makers through personal connections and intensive press propaganda. Brazil was trying to realign itself within the international system as a key player after the First World War. In this context, the Armenian cause was presented as an opportunity to show to the Great Powers that Brazil was ready to deal with challenges in the new global scenario and, therefore, deserved the prominent place that it had received at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and at the League of Nations. The hypothesis is that Brazilian support towards the Armenians was a pragmatic act that sought, through a humanitarian agenda, to gain prestige at the global level. Brazil’s attempt to act as mediator in the conflict between Armenians and Turks was therefore imbued with modern humanitarianism ideas, guided by the pragmatism and desire for prestige in the international system.
This chapter looks at the contemporary case of Syrian Armenians taking refuge/migrating to Armenia as a result of the current conflict in Syria. It looks at the different local, national and international actors involved in dealing with the Syrian humanitarian crisis in Armenia, engaging with their discourse, narratives, policies and practice, and crucially how these are being played out on the ground. The chapter is based on field research in Armenia in November 2016. It looks at how international organisations like the UNHCR as well as diaspora institutions like the AGBU are tackling the Syrian refugee crisis in Armenia. It also situates these activities in relation to how the Armenian government is dealing with the Syrians. In addition, the chapter examines the crucial role played by local civil society groups set up by Syrian Armenians in Armenia. The Syrian Armenians are the latest significant wave of diasporan Armenians seeking refuge from troubled homes. While it is yet unclear how many of these refugees will stay in Armenia in the long-term, this chapter addresses the problematic concepts and realities of diasporan ‘home’, ‘homeland’ and ‘return’, within the Armenian state and society.
Humanitarian interventions after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia
The 1988 earthquake in Armenia is frequently anecdotally referred to as a turning point in international humanitarian relief operations due to both the scale of destruction and the appeal of the Soviet authorities for international assistance, which followed in its wake. Such an appeal brought international relief workers to a Soviet republic for the first time in decades. At the same time, limited scholarly attention has been accorded to the way humanitarian aid impacted trajectories of change within Soviet Armenia during the final days of the Soviet Union. In light of this, the chapter looks at the changing character of the humanitarian cooperation between the Soviet Union and the West. It pays particular attention to the response of the Armenian diaspora to the earthquake and their changing relationship to the newly independent Republic of Armenia.
Four principal types of disturbance can be identified between 1200 and 1500. First, 'reformist' rebellions, intended to correct what were perceived to be abuses and to remove from his presence those advisers responsible for the abuses. Reformist movements could nevertheless be transformed into the second major category of rebellions to be considered: dynastic risings, whose declared intent stretched beyond the criticism of royal policies to an attempt to remove the king held responsible for them from power. The third major group of rebellions consists of the popular risings: preeminently the 'English rising' of 1381 and Cade's rebellion in 1450. It was left to the last group of rebellions, the religious risings, to articulate a radical set of social and political demands. How the balance of advantage between opportunity and danger is to be struck largely depends upon an estimate of the seriousness of the civil wars and rebellions.
The 'county community' in later medieval England enjoyed a brief but influential vogue during the 1980s. It was one of a number of lesser solidarities, the parish, the hundred, the kindred, the affinity, which might each play a part of variable significance in the social, and occasionally the political, life of the later medieval gentry. This chapter defines what that part was and suggests how it may have changed over time. It can be assumed that there were three separate stages in the evolution of the county community. In the first stage, the shire gained both definition and authority by its acquisition of a range of new administrative powers and responsibilities. The second, the 'social' phase, saw changes that were principally demographic and driven by high levels of plague-related mortality. In the third, chiefly political, phase, county society responded to external pressures, principally the polarisation of national politics.
When Simon Walker began researching the retinue of John of Gaunt in 1980, 'bastard feudalism' had been the subject of debate for thirty-five years. He examines Yorkshire under Richard II and Henry IV, looking at the role of the four elements in the commissions: magnates, assize judges, justices of the quorum (local legal practitioners) and local gentry. Two principal conclusions emerged about political culture below the level of the literate political class: first, its ambivalence revealed a measure of sophistication and subtlety; and secondly, it broadly connected with the issues of high politics. Walker used case studies to build up a picture of collective mentalities among different social grades and vocational worlds. It was a challenging approach, for it meant working against the grain of the central sources, displaying sensitivity to other incidental evidence, and using conjecture and imagination with the utmost discipline.
When Richard II, disguised as a priest, arrived at Conway castle in August 1399 the army he had brought back from Ireland had dwindled to a band of about fifteen companions. Among those who accompanied him were three commoners: Sir Stephen Scrope, under-chamberlain of the household; William Ferriby, the king's notary; and an esquire of the household, Janico Dartasso. Janico's own identity as a Basque, a people without a territory, and his early experience of Navarre, where a fluid ethnic mix of servants gathered around the French-born ruler of a multiple kingdom, inclined him towards a looser pattern of lordship. He sought to maintain the integrity of his lands on the western edge of English rule by expedients that used to the full his cosmopolitan contacts and experience: frequent trips to the English mainland; military service in France; commercial ventures to Aquitaine; a projected marriage into the Scottish aristocracy.