The American Red Cross in the last war of Cuban independence (1895–1898)

This chapter takes one episode of Spain’s modern history as a case study to move the focus of Red Cross historiography towards less rigid national and colonial categories. It focuses on the relief initiatives carried out during the last war of Cuban independence in 1895–8. It suggests that it was here that the American Red Cross openly made its push for world domination of humanitarian power, and challenged the model of colonial expansion practised by other national societies under a model set up and controlled by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

in The Red Cross Movement
Open Access (free)
A practical politics of care

Clean Break, founded in 1979 by two women serving sentences in an English prison, has developed over the last four decades into an influential theatre, education and advocacy organisation, positioning narratives of women affected by the criminal justice system centre stage. In this chapter, Joan Tronto’s work on care, markets and justice ([1993] 2009, 2013) informs my reading of Clean Break’s organisational practices as care. From its distinctive approach to developing new writing for theatre, to its enduring commitment to reach audiences through partnerships with criminal justice, cultural and voluntary sector organisations, Clean Break creates structures of care for women who have fallen beyond the reach of state systems of welfare: the subjects of stigma, regulation and punishment. In this chapter, I argue that Clean Break not only critiques the intersectional oppressions that shape the lives of many women who experience the criminal justice system but, through its responsive and interconnected practices, attends to a care deficit in society, integral to the company’s commitment to equality and justice.

in Performing care
The First World War and the expansion of the Canadian Red Cross Society’s humanitarian vision

When the Canadian Red Cross (CRCS) was created in 1896 as the first colonial branch of the British Red Cross, it held closely to the Red Cross Movement’s founding vision of inactivity in peacetime. While other national Red Cross societies expanded beyond the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the CRCS did not – and, as a result, failed to thrive. This chapter will examine the role of the First World War in transforming the CRCS into a nationwide patriotic and humanitarian cause, its wartime work fuelled by British imperialism and an emerging sense of English-Canadian nationalism born of the war. The CRCS’s evolution between 1914 and 1919 therefore offers a useful case study of how intersecting national, imperial and transnational forces shaped the evolution of one humanitarian organisation.

in The Red Cross Movement
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Securing us?

This chapter reflects on the UK’s use of proscription, and the implications of this for our knowledge of national security today. The historical and relational contexts explored in the book demonstrate – we argue – the ongoing relevance of proscription, and particularly the international influence of the UK’s proscription traditions, in shaping state administration. The multiple functions assigned to this power, moreover, also exposes proscription as a versatile tool of political convenience for regulating ideas and, in particular, political symbols. Here we suggest that central to proscription is the British state’s preoccupation with symbolic power, whether displayed through the flying of flags, the wearing of uniforms, the performance of rituals or the recitations of oaths. On this analysis, proscription is concerned with denying symbolism to illegitimate entities even though, or perhaps because, citizenship itself is a symbolically constituted status. This sensitivity to rituals, we argue, has wider implications for security scholars insofar as it potentially renders visible other security moves by state institutions, and for our understanding of the political more broadly.

in Banning them, securing us?
Political communication in early modern England

This collection of essays is set up to explore the dynamics of local/national political culture in seventeenth-century Britain, with particular reference to political communication. It examines the degree to which connections were forged between politics in London, Whitehall and Westminster, and politics in the localities, and the patterns and processes that can be recovered. The fundamental goal is to foster a dialogue between two prominent strands within recent historiography, and between the work of social and political historians of the early modern period. Chapters by leading historians of Stuart Britain examine how the state worked to communicate with its people and how local communities, often far from the metropole, opened their own lines of communication with the centre. The volume then is not meant to be an exhaustive study of all forms of political communication but it nevertheless highlights a variety of ways this agenda can be addressed. At present there is ongoing work on subscriptional culture across the nation from petitioning to Protestation, loyal addresses, lobbying and litigation to name but a few. It is hoped that this volume will provide a reminder of the gains to be made by placing political communication at the heart of both social and political history and to provide an impetus for further scholarship.

Open Access (free)
Care and debility in collaborations between non-disabled and learning disabled theatre makers

This chapter draws on the theories of Eva Kittay, Nel Noddings and Jasbir K. Puar to counter critical responses to Disabled Theater, a collaboration between Jérôme Bel and Theater HORA. Readings of the performance by Gerald Siegmund and Benjamin Wihstutz propose that Bel has constructed a discursive performance framework in which disability functions to critique aesthetic demands for virtuosity and, in doing so, implicitly challenge neoliberal values. Such readings, however, risk sustaining ableist conceptions of learning disability that are themselves fundamental to (neo)liberal ideas. Mind the Gap’s Contained, another collaborative performance involving non-disabled and learning disabled theatre makers in which acts of care are more visible, offers potential for an alternative reading. This performance creates a ‘convivial theatre’ where identities, relationships and meanings are formed within the performance encounter through acts of theatrical engrossment, the explicit attitude and labour of care for the performance situation itself. The chapter argues that similar traces of conviviality and theatrical engrossment can also be seen within Disabled Theater, eluding Bel’s discursive framework and opening up space for a more radical challenge to neoliberal principles.

in Performing care
Sources of parliamentary support and opposition

Chapter 4 begins the book’s analysis of British parliamentary debates by outlining the diverse ways in which the power of proscription is positioned politically and normatively therein. The chapter demonstrates that proscription is consistently depicted as a power of significance that merits a certain seriousness. For proscription’s advocates, this significance comes from its contribution to national security via the prevention, deterrence and disruption of terrorist ambitions, as well as its symbolic value in communicating British or parliamentary resolve to would-be terrorists. Parliamentary critics of proscription, on the other hand, see the power as important, we argue, because of its deleterious implications for social and political life within Britain. These include issues around its effectiveness; its potentially counter-productive implications; the civil liberty consequences of listing organisations; and the impact of proscription upon democratic processes more broadly. In reflecting on these arguments, the chapter highlights some of the rhetorical strategies upon which politicians draw within these debates, as well as a tendency – not uncommon – for distraction and diversion therein.

in Banning them, securing us?
Central initiatives and local agency in the English civil war

In 1650, anticipating a Scottish invasion, a Herefordshire parliamentarian published a pamphlet enumerating the ‘plunderings, losses and sufferings’ in the county at the hands of the Scottish army’ that had besieged the city of Hereford in 1645. The pamphlet, an abstract of 160 parish accounts of losses, might be regarded as a strategic deployment of information efficiently gathered by central authority from the localities. Clearly, the increased scope, and energy of central government in early modern England can be demonstrated through the soliciting of information from the localities as well as through its transmission, and Parliament’s civil war regime was no exception, albeit in more contested circumstances. But the drawing up accounts of civil war losses does not demonstrate straightforwardly successful enforcement or willing compliance. Accounting reveals instead the strength of local agency, not through disobedience but in responses that subverted central priorities. It was a form of political communication that used manuscript and print to reflect on local experience, and to conduct intra-parliamentarian disputes, while also prompting broader reflections on the public service and the burdens of war, generating political agendas that were national in scope but certainly not set by central authority.

in Connecting centre and locality

The Chinese Red Cross Society was founded in 1904 by a group of Chinese elites intent on helping their countrymen trapped by the Russo-Japanese war in north China. But even before this date, the Red Cross Movement was familiar to the imperial Chinese Government and to a growing cadre of Chinese intellectuals, merchants and officials. How did the Chinese understand the Red Cross Movement? How did they come to adopt a western organisation, permeated by principles and preoccupations foreign to China’s own cultural and material context? This chapter uncovers the original Chinese debates regarding China’s adherence to the Geneva Conventions and the formation of a Red Cross society sparked by the 1899 meeting at The Hague. These debates reveal important insights and correctives to the idea of ‘universality’ in the Red Cross principles. 

in The Red Cross Movement
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The American Red Cross in an era of contested neutrality, 1914–1917

From 1914 to the early 1920s – the era of the First World War – the American Red Cross (ARC) was best known for its dynamic growth into an organisation boasting tens of millions of members who energetically participated in a wide array of relief and reconstruction initiatives across war-torn Europe. Less is known about the ARC’s profound struggles during the period of American neutrality, from 1914 to 1917. Every major undertaking that the Red Cross leadership initiated when the United States was neutral failed. It failed to orchestrate a national relief movement, to undertake substantive foreign relief operations and to adapt institutionally to America’s military entry in the war. Given its abject ‘failure to launch’ in these ways, it is all the more remarkable that the ARC became the nation’s leading relief society during the period of American belligerency, 1917–18. In order to appreciate that unlikely transformation, this chapter considers the hurdles over which the ARC initially stumbled.

in The Red Cross Movement