The case of Rosemary Taylor, Elaine Moir and Margaret Moses
During the Vietnam War, relief agencies and religious organisations were swamped with applications from Australians wishing to adopt refugee children from Vietnam. These appeals to government, religious and aid organisations were framed as humanitarian acts driven by compassion and empathy for children whose lives were devastated by war. Underpinning these campaigns was an understanding of humanitarianism informed by an imagined, fantasised future of happiness for such war refugee children. I argue these campaigns of inter-country and transnational adoption of war refugee children were marked by a humanitarianism which was characterised by several factors. The first was the attainment of an idealised, untainted childhood which had been destroyed by war, but which could how retrieved and reconstructed through adoption. Second, adoptees perceived themselves as saviours and heroes, saving innocent children and providing a narrative of uncomplicated happy resolution, speaking and acting for children. In so doing, they conflated individual motives with altruism and a social imaginary of an idealised family model. Finally, it is argued that the construct of the ‘war orphan’ is never an apolitical practice and a form of humanitarianism based on retrieving an idealised childhood attempts to depoliticise and neutralise the circumstances of violence and war.
It is in the US that the case study genre is reinvented within a politicised psychiatric-psychoanalytical framework in the work of Viola Bernard. Bernard’s writings pose enduring questions about the relationship between activism and US psychiatry, politics and race relations. This chapter traces Bernard’s efforts to develop a new, authoritative and politically effective narrative through her case notes and advocacy about black subjects. This involved mobilising the case study genre in the public domain at large, for political as well as medical purposes, in the context of a turbulent period in US history.
The challenges of compassion and the Australian humanitarian campaigns for Armenian relief, 1900–30
‘Aid for Armenia’ became a common catch cry in Australia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This chapter takes a longitudinal perspective of the campaigns conducted across Australia to assist Armenian refugees. In doing so it aims to chart the varied campaigns undertaken to offer aid and assistance to the Armenian population experiencing dispossession, displacement and genocide. It positions these efforts transnationally, identifying how these efforts of aid conducted throughout the English-speaking world intersected and were interconnected, particularly throughout the British Empire. But it also identifies activities at the local level, where public meetings, fundraising drives and lectures were delivered throughout Australia for the Armenian cause. Through an analysis of these endeavours this chapter more broadly seeks to explore how a study of Armenian relief efforts highlights the wider shifts of meaning of compassion and humanitarianism from a range of perspectives and how these changed over time.
This book examines the shifting relationship between humanitarianism and the expansion, consolidation and postcolonial transformation of the Anglophone world across three centuries. Rather than exploring this relationship within a generalised narrative, an introductory essay sets out its key features throughout the imperial and post-imperial period, before carefully selected chapters explore trade-offs between humane concern and the altered context of colonial and postcolonial realpolitik with case studies distributed between the late eighteenth and late twentieth centuries. Together, the collection enables us to tease out the relationship between British humanitarian concerns and the uneven imagination and application of emancipation; the shifting tensions between ameliorative humanitarianism and assertive human rights; the specificities of humanitarian governance; the shifting locales of humanitarian donors, practitioners and recipients as decolonisation reconfigured imperial relationships; and the overarching question of who Anglo humanitarianism is for.
This volume tells the story of the case study genre at a time when it became the genre par excellence for discussing human sexuality across the humanities and the life sciences. A History of the Case Study takes the reader on a transcontinental journey from the imperial world of fin-de-siècle Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the interwar metropolises of Weimar Germany, and to the United States of America in the post-war years. Foregrounding the figures of case study pioneers, and always alert to the radical implications of their engagement with the genre, the six chapters scrutinise the case writing practices of Sigmund Freud and his predecessor sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing; writers such as Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Oskar Panizza and Alfred Döblin; Weimar intellectuals such as Erich Wulffen, and New York psychoanalyst Viola Bernard. There result important new insights into the continuing legacy of such writers, and into the agency increasingly claimed by the readerships that emerged with the development of modernity—from readers who self-identified as masochists, to conmen and female criminals. Where previous accounts of the case study have tended to consider the history of the genre from a single disciplinary perspective, this book is structured by the interdisciplinary approach most applicable to the ambivalent context of modernity. It focuses on key moments in the genre’s past, occasions when and where the conventions of the case study were contested as part of a more profound enquiry into the nature of the human subject.
Three centuries of Anglophone humanitarianism, empire and transnationalism
Written in equal parts by specialists in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Burnard, Lester and Damousi respectively), this foundational chapter tracks the relationship between humanitarian discourse and practice on the one hand, and the rise, expansion and decline of the British Empire on the other, across three centuries. Not only does it set the scene for the case study chapters that follow, establishing the geopolitical context of Anglophone ameliorative governance and intervention across this longue durée; it is the first such targeted examination of this relationship in its own right. It seeks to take up the challenge posed by Skinner and Lester in 2012, to explore ‘the history of humanitarianism … as a fundamental component of imperial relations, a way of bridging trans-imperial, international and transnational approaches’.