A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair
, we hope to open a conversation about the ways in
which the humanitarian sector can develop formal (and fruitful) collaborations with
academic historians and to integrate some of their methods into their work
Humanitarian History and Policy
The impetus for this project came from a growing interest in history within the aid
industry. The humanitarian sector’s engagement with its past has expanded
significantly since the beginning
Lessons Learned for Engagement in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States
organisations that have specific processes and requirements may need to work with a greater degree of flexibility, as the institutions and capacity within the country may pose barriers for meeting typical conditions, and thus delay implementation ( GoC, 2017 ).
Collaboration . In the absence of strong governmental systems, myriad parallel systems are being supported and developed by NGOs. Organisations should ‘seek out opportunities to collaborate with complementary activities of other stakeholders where the potential benefits of collaboration outweigh the costs’ ( USAID
Marco Aurelio Guimarães, Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Evison, Edna Sadayo Miazato Iwamura, Carlos Eduardo Palhares Machado, Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva, Maria Eliana Castro Pinheiro, Diva Santana, and Julie Alvina Guss Patrício
Exhumation may be defined as the legally sanctioned excavation and recovery of the
remains of lawfully buried or – occasionally – cremated individuals, as distinct from
forensic excavations of clandestinely buried remains conducted as part of a criminal
investigation and from unlawful disinterment of human remains, commonly referred to as
bodysnatching. The aim of this article is to review the role of exhumation – so defined –
in the activities of CEMEL, the Medico-Legal Centre of the Ribeirão Preto Medical
School-University of São Paulo, in international, regional and local collaborations.
Exhumations form part of routine forensic anthropology casework; scientific research in
physical and forensic anthropology; and forensic casework conducted in collaboration with
the Brazilian Federal Police; and are carried out as part of humanitarian investigations
into deaths associated with the civil–military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. This article
aims to offer a non-technical summary – with reference to international comparative
information – of the role of exhumation in investigative and scientific work and to
discuss developments in their historical and political context.
Filmmaker Karen Thorsen gave us James Baldwin: The Price of the
Ticket, the award-winning documentary that is now considered a
classic. First broadcast on PBS/American Masters in August, 1989—just
days after what would have been Baldwin’s 65th birthday—the film
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1990. It was not the film Thorsen
intended to make. Beginning in 1986, she and Baldwin had been collaborating on a
very different film project: a “nonfiction feature” about the
history, research, and writing of Baldwin’s next book, Remember
This House. It was also going to be a film about progress: how far
we had come, how far we still had to go, before we learned to trust our common
humanity. The following memoir explores how and why their collaboration began.
This recollection will be serialized in two parts, with the second installment
appearing in James Baldwin Review’s seventh issue, due
out in the fall of 2021.
James Baldwin was a vocal critic of Hollywood, but he was also a cinephile, and his critique of film was not so much of the medium itself, but of the uses to which it was put. Baldwin saw in film the chance to transform both politics and art—if only film could be transformed itself. This essay blends readings of archival materials, literature, film, and print culture to examine three distinct modes in Baldwin’s ongoing quest to revolutionize film. First, I argue, literature served as a key site to practice being a filmmaker, as Baldwin adapted cinematic grammars in his fiction and frequently penned scenes of filmgoing in which he could, in effect, direct his own movies. Secondly, I show that starting in the 1960s, Baldwin took a more direct route to making movies, as he composed screenplays, formed several production companies, and attempted to work in both Hollywood and the independent film scene in Europe. Finally, I explore how Baldwin sought to change cinema as a performer himself, in particular during his collaboration on Dick Fontaine and Pat Hartley’s documentary I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1982). This little-known film follows Baldwin as he revisits key sites from the civil rights movement and reconnects with activist friends as he endeavors to construct a revisionist history of race in America and to develop a media practice capable of honoring Black communities.
Filmmaker Karen Thorsen gave us James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, the award-winning documentary that is now considered a classic. First broadcast on PBS/American Masters in August, 1989—just days after what would have been Baldwin’s sixty-fifth birthday—the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1990. It was not the film Thorsen intended to make. Beginning in 1986, Baldwin and Thorsen had been collaborating on a very different film project: a “nonfiction feature” about the history, research, and writing of Baldwin’s next book, “Remember This House.” It was also going to be a film about progress: about how far we had come, how far we still have to go, before we learn to trust our common humanity. But that project ended abruptly. On 1 December 1987, James Baldwin died—and “Remember This House,” book and film died with him. Suddenly, Thorsen’s mission changed: the world needed to know what they had lost. Her alliance with Baldwin took on new meaning. The following memoir—the second of two serialized parts—explores how and why their collaboration began. The first installment appeared in the sixth volume of James Baldwin Review, in the fall of 2020; the next stage of their journey starts here.
Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell, and Dónal P. O’Mathúna
Language and its translation are important operational concerns in humanitarian
crisis response. Information sharing, coordination, collaboration and
relationship-building all revolve around the ability to communicate effectively.
However, doing so is hampered in many humanitarian crises by linguistic
differences and a lack of access to adequate translation. Various innovative
practices and products are being developed and deployed with the goal of
addressing these concerns. In this theoretical paper, we critically appraise the
ethical terrain of crisis translation and humanitarian innovation. We identify
ethical issues related to three broad themes. First, we foreground questions of
justice in access to translation and its prioritisation in contexts of
widespread and pressing needs. Second, we consider the relationship between
humanitarian ethics and the ethics of crisis translation. We argue for the
importance of attending to epistemic justice in humanitarian crisis response,
and consider how Ricoeur’s conception of linguistic hospitality provides
insights into how relationships in humanitarian settings can be understood
through the lens of an ethics of exchange while also acknowledging the steep
asymmetries that often exist in these contexts. Finally, we identify issues
related to how translation innovations intersect with humanitarian values and
humanitarians’ ethical commitments.
James Baldwin and Ray Charles in “The Hallelujah
Based on a recent, archival discovery of the script, “But Amen is the Price” is the first
substantive writing about James Baldwin’s collaboration with Ray Charles, Cicely Tyson,
and others in a performance of musical and dramatic pieces. Titled by Baldwin, “The
Hallelujah Chorus” was performed in two shows at Carnegie Hall in New York City on 1 July
1973. The essay explores how the script and presentation of the material, at least in
Baldwin’s mind, represented a call for people to more fully involve themselves in their
own and in each other’s lives. In lyrical interludes and dramatic excerpts from his
classic work, “Sonny’s Blues,” Baldwin addressed divisions between neighbors, brothers,
and strangers, as well as people’s dissociations from themselves in contemporary American
life. In solo and ensemble songs, both instrumental and vocal, Ray Charles’s music evinced
an alternative to the tradition of Americans’ evasion of each other. Charles’s sound meant
to signify the history and possibility of people’s attainment of presence in intimate,
social, and political venues of experience. After situating the performance in Baldwin’s
personal life and public worldview at the time and detailing the structure and content of
the performance itself, “But Amen is the Price” discusses the largely negative critical
response as a symptom faced by much of Baldwin’s other work during the era, responses that
attempted to guard “aesthetics” generally—be they literary, dramatic, or musical—as
class-blind, race-neutral, and apolitical. The essay presents “The Hallelujah Chorus” as a
key moment in Baldwin’s search for a musical/literary form, a way to address, as he put
it, “the person and the people,” in open contention with the social and political
pressures of the time.
A Response to the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs Special Issue on Innovation in Humanitarian Action (JHA, 1:3)
humanitarian problems (for example, to tackle gender bias as a barrier to improving monitoring and evaluation in GBV) and engage other actors, for example, research partners, to support our grantees, maximising the impact they might achieve.
The notion of a humanitarian innovation agenda solely driven by the private sector also no longer holds true. While I would agree with Sandvik (Innovation Issue) that there has been a ‘culture shift’ in the sector along with a growing focus on innovation, including a ‘permissibility and necessity of private-sector collaboration to