The Visual Politics and Narratives of Red Cross Museums in Europe and the
United States, 1920s to 2010s
Interpreting Red Cross museums as a visual medium, this essay explores the visual
politics of Red Cross museums through the twentieth century. The essay puts
particular emphasis on the entanglements between the visual politics and
humanitarian narratives of Red Cross museums and identifies three major
narratives that museums promoted through the times: a heroic narrative, a
narrative of civility, and a volunteer’s narrative. Last, the essay
argues that Red Cross museums may offer a fruitful field to encourage more
engagement between (public) historians and humanitarian practitioners.
An Interview with Rainer Schlösser, Spokesperson of the Association of the Red Cross Museums in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der deutschen Rotkreuz-Museen)
An accomplished academic, collector, and long-time Red Cross volunteer, Professor Dr Rainer Schlösser is head of the Red Cross Museum of the Red Cross Chapter Fläming-Spreewald in Luckenwalde. He has directed the museum since 2000. Since 2006, he has also served as official spokesperson of the Association of the Red Cross Museums in Germany, a group connecting thirteen Red Cross museums across Germany. I met Rainer Schlösser in his office at the Red Cross Museum in Luckenwalde. After an extended and insightful tour through the museum we sat down to discuss his ideas and his work at the museum.
For two decades, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) prepared pedagogical materials for Canadian schools. This article reviews the role of visual media in the hundreds of publications prepared for Development Education. Samples collected by Marc Rockbrune, Distribution Clerk responsible for their expedition in schools, libraries, and homes, and donated in 2016 to Carleton University Archives and Research Collections, are read with the help of the ‘psychopedagogical guides’ prepared by CIDA, and the testimonies of two workers of the agency linked to their preparation and dissemination: Mary Bramley, curator of the International Development Photo Library, and Rockbrune himself. Prepared with a large measure of autonomy by a sizeable team of visual artists, designers, and third world reformers, the program outreach was large, and its popularity strong. The expected and effective roles of visual media in the history of this short-lived institution of Development Education is explored to suggest elements of understanding of their impact on a generation of Canadian children and youth.
Visual Advocacy in the Early Decades of Humanitarian Cinema
Focusing on the pivotal period of 1919–23 and the large-scale humanitarian responses in Central and Eastern Europe, this paper discusses the development of advocacy in the movies made by organizations like the ICRC, Save the Children Fund or American Relief Administration. While aid agencies observed and competed with each other for visibility, humanitarian cinema shaped visual advocacy, grounded in the idea that ‘seeing is believing’. Exploring the fragmented audiovisual archives, as well as magazines and promotional material, this paper explores the testimonial function of humanitarian films in the 1920s. It first shows that the immediacy of the cinema technology increased the immersive and affective experience of the viewers by using forensic evidence and images of the body in pain. It then analyses how these films compelled audiences to witness suffering and act through persuasion, suggestion, and emotions. Finally, it inquires into the use of eyewitness images and first-hand accounts during the screenings, to show how these movies operated within larger regimes of visibility, while making claims on behalf of distant beneficiaries.
The following conversation explores the emergence of advocacy within the MSF movement. Maria Guevara was Senior Operational Positioning and Advocacy Advisor in the Operational Centre Geneva (OCG) at MSF Switzerland. Marc DuBois was the Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Department in the Operational Centre Amsterdam (OCA) at MSF Holland and the former Director of MSF UK. Together, we discuss the principle of ‘bearing witness’ and the dilemmas it has raised among MSF’s different sections, as well as its link to eyewitness.
This chapter provides a review of how the book’s statistical and legal analyses of international organizations’ constitutions revealed many new – and seemingly contradictory – interpretations of international organizations law. It reminds the reader of the map that the book provided of international organizations’ values, as well as some of the ways for understanding that map.
This chapter illustrates the extent to which various international organizations’ constitutions refer to a range of principles identified in the literature. It describes the universe of these constitutions quantitatively, and it provides a first analysis of groupings of these principles. The chapter shows how some constitutions refer to different principles more than others. It also shows how these groupings were found, as well as which organizations and principles belong to these groups. This chapter also shows the network linkages between these principles, as constitutions refer to some principles more than others. If mentions of executive staff appear dominant in traditional quantitative analysis, these mentions become all the more important in the network analysis provided. Indeed, no analysis of international organizations law can omit the principles driving executive staff and remain relevant.
This chapter continues to illustrate the quantitative links from the first chapters by concentrating on various substantive principles. These substantive principles act as the main drivers of international organizations law, in contrast to procedural principles. The chapter shows, using the same kind of analysis as in the previous chapter, how equality, peace, representativeness and autonomy mean something together and separately, depending on the constitutions being discussed. Unequal relations between states can never form the basis of peace between states, as the UN Charter and other constitutions attest. State sovereignty may represent the ultimate type of autonomy, but representation in an international organization may actually bolster both the autonomy of the state and the international organization concerned. Such apparent contradictions bedevil all aspects of constitutional interpretation. Valuing these principles and knowing their value in promoting a principle like peace requires a holistic understanding of these constitutions in context.
This chapter illustrates the quantitative links from the first chapters by using the standard tools of legal analysis. In particular, it shows how references to other principles shade any legal or practical definition of authority in these international organizations. For example, the African Export Import Bank’s constitution describes how the Bank’s autonomy from its member states helps to ensure the Bank staff’s authority. The constitutions of the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank also show how some constitutions use recommendations to appoint staff, while in other cases staff make recommendations to member states. Depending on the international organization, the principle of making recommendations serves different ends. In some cases, autonomy helps provide the authority to make these recommendations. In cases like the United Nations, the recommendations themselves carry authority, and the authority vested in the United Nations gives authority to these recommendations. However, the law (and particularly the subsidiary and regulatory law) behind these nuanced concepts of these legal principles remains almost completely undefined.
This chapter starts by reminding the reader of how international organizations impact on our daily lives. Despite the importance of these organizations, the legal principles that drive them are relatively unstudied and unknown. The chapter explains how this book remedies that situation with an empirical exploration of the constitutions that form international organizations, as well as an explanation of how previous efforts of other researchers have fallen woefully short. It identifies the main principles that this empirical exploration focuses on and asks searching questions to better understand the contours of those principles. The chapter also anticipates and counters criticism that counting words in constitutions does not get us closer to understanding the principles of international organizations. On the contrary, the patterns that this book discovers paint a new and compelling picture of the principles at the heart of international organizations.