in The Red Cross Movement


This volume grew out of a chance encounter between two of the editors, Melanie and Neville, at a conference in Singapore in early 2014. After recovering from the surprise at discovering a shared intellectual interest in the history of the Red Cross, conversation quickly turned to bemoaning the dearth of scholarship on the subject and, in time, to the possibility of gathering like-minded scholars together to discuss the matter further. Thoughts slowly crystallised over the next few years, and after James Crossland and Christine Winter joined the enterprise, and support was secured from the Australian Red Cross, the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History (, Flinders University and the University of Nottingham, a conference was duly convened in Adelaide, South Australia, in September 2016. The event brought together over fifty historians, archivists and practitioners, and explored some of the continuities and changes that have defined the Red Cross Movement since its inception in the 1860s. Many of the ideas and papers first discussed at the conference have found their way into this volume, though the project has also drawn in scholars who were either unable to make the journey ‘down under’ or whose interest in the subject was piqued by the debates sparked by our discussions in Adelaide. The editors are delighted to thank Ali Lehman, for overseeing the conference administration; Michael Barnett, who delivered its first keynote address; and Judy Slayter, who addressed the conference in her capacity as CEO of the Australian Red Cross. We are, of course, especially grateful to our contributing authors, who have responded to our editorial requests, comments and recommendations in a timely and generous manner. We greatly appreciate the help of our editors at Manchester University Press, Tony Mason, Rob Byron and Jonathan de Peyer; the support of our series editor, Bertrand Taithe; the work of our two indexers, Olivia and Isabella; and the advice of a number of colleagues who freely gave up their time to comment on the papers, structure, themes and ideas as the project evolved. We are, finally, indebted to two archivists, Fabrizio Bensi at the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Grant Mitchell at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, for providing information on the increasing interest shown in their archival holdings – an interest that, we hope, will only be furthered by the chapters brought together in this volume.

The Red Cross Movement

Myths, practices, turning points


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