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Despite the imperative for change in a world of persistent inequality, racism, oppression and violence, difficulties arise once we try to bring about a transformation. As scholars, students and activists, we may want to change the world, but we are not separate, looking in, but rather part of the world ourselves. The book demonstrates that we are not in control: with all our academic rigour, we cannot know with certainty why the world is the way it is, or what impact our actions will have. It asks what we are to do, if this is the case, and engages with our desire to seek change. Chapters scrutinise the role of intellectuals, experts and activists in famine aid, the Iraq war, humanitarianism and intervention, traumatic memory, enforced disappearance, and the Grenfell Tower fire, and examine the fantasy of security, contemporary notions of time, space and materiality, and ideas of the human and sentience. Plays and films by Michael Frayn, Chris Marker and Patricio Guzmán are considered, and autobiographical narrative accounts probe the author’s life and background. The book argues that although we might need to traverse the fantasy of certainty and security, we do not need to give up on hope.

Davide Rodogno

chapter. Here I assume that humanitarians’ motivations are heterogeneous. My argument is that despite such heterogeneity, during the last 120 years western humanitarians have retained a distinctive trait: a certain kind of arrogance, which I view as ingrained and related to certainty and compassion (a term that derives from Latin cum-patire , literally to suffer with). My argument suggests continuity in very different times and spaces, and for very different actors of such ingrained arrogance. Before dealing with the core of the matter, explaining what I mean by

in The Red Cross Movement
The first child-witch in Rothenburg, 1587
Alison Rowlands

3 ‘One cannot … hope to obtain the slightest certainty from him’: the first child-witch in Rothenburg, 1587 It is, of course, only with the benefit of hindsight that we can draw conclusions about the relative restraint with which the council in Rothenburg treated witchcraft during the early modern period; this restraint was never a foregone conclusion in any particular witch-trial. The intricate web of factors which accounted for it could be tested to the limits in certain cases when an individual’s story of witchcraft and the manner in which the council chose

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
Malcolm Pemberton
and
Nicholas Rau

( X ) ≥ h ( X ) with certainty. Therefore E ( g ( X

in Mathematics for Economists
David Rieff

. If humanitarian certainties have been upended, it is not in Sri Lanka, or even Syria or Afghanistan, but in the NGO response to the migration crisis in Greece and in the Mediterranean. For here, whether they like it or not, when they rescue people at sea who are trying to get to Europe, relief NGOs are involved not just in caritative work, whose deontology is relatively straightforward ethically; here, they are important actors in a profound political struggle, whose outcome, along with the response or non-response to climate change, is likely to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
The Court Sermons of James II
William Gibson

This article considers the sermons preached by royal chaplains at the court of James II and the organisation of the chapel royal by James as a Catholic organisation. In doing so, it addresses the question of where James’s assurance and certainty came from that he was ruling as God wished him to do. The evidence presented here is that James organised his Catholic chapel royal to be a conscious source of guidance and support. His chaplains reciprocated by addressing him as a Catholic king whose duty was to bring to heel a recalcitrant and stubborn people. His chaplains used historical precedent and theological argument to press on James his determination to bring his Protestant subjects to obedience. This is a study of the Catholic milieu of James’s court and of the theological impetus behind his rule.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Editor’s Introduction
Michaël Neuman
,
Fernando Espada
, and
Róisín Read

‘irreducible uncertainties’ of the situations encountered by teams on the ground. As Champy argues ( Champy, 2018: 17 ), ‘when action is required in highly singular and complex situations, common solutions that can be automatically inferred from routines, rules or scientific knowledge, might lead to mistakes and damages. Indeed, the singularity of the situation may imply that… the situation does not allow for a high degree of certainty’. In such situations, transmission of knowledge between

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Brendan T. Lawson

violence to economic prosperity, are ‘presented as unambiguous and objective’ because they ‘are grounded in the certainty of numbers’. Such a conception of numbers is encapsulated by Desrosières (2001 : 348) when he talks of ‘metrological realism’. This viewpoint holds that ‘computed moments (averages, variances, correlations) have a substance that reflects an underlying macrosocial reality, revealed by those computations’. In other words, numbers reveal something about the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Sophie Roborgh

, and even physical presence of the verifying actor at the site of attack. The WHO’s SSA aims to capture ‘any and all attacks’ ( 2018 : 5), but pairs their relatively inclusive approach with strict verification protocols and a certainty-level differentiation method, without reflecting on the potential consequences of this approach ( 2018 : 19). Verification also leads to less incorporation of attacks among other initiatives, as visible

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Humanitarian Disruption in Conflict Settings
Maelle L’Homme

and the many other push and pull factors that played a part in these demographic changes (as described above). Consequently, it is impossible to determine the extent of MSF’s direct impact on demographic trends with any degree of certainty, or how it interplayed with people’s specific circumstances. In a country where people have endured more than fifty years of large-scale internal movement, war-induced displacement, independence-induced resettlement, labour as well as

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs