Global Humanitarianism and Media Culture

Conference to be held at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 6-8 February 2015

Supported by the School of Media, Film and Music and the Sussex Centre for the Visual

Supported by the Doctoral School’s Researcher-Led Initiative Fund


Keynote speakers:

Professor Lilie Chouliaraki (London School of Economics)

Author of The Ironic Spectator: Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism (2012) and The Spectatorship of Suffering (2006)

Professor Suzanne Franks (City University London)

Author of Reporting Disasters – Famine, Aid, Politics and the Media (2013)

Dr. Shohini Chaudhuri (University of Essex)

Author of Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film Spectatorship (2014)

PLUS: a special screening of the previously banned Save the Children Fund Film (Ken Loach, 1971)

[with Juliano Fiori, Senior Humanitarian Affairs Adviser, Save the Children]

This conference intends to bring together scholars and students working across a range of disciplines to consider the relationships between global humanitarianism and media culture from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives. As Keith Tester has argued, modern humanitarianism and the institutions and technologies of media culture are inextricably entwined. In recent decades various scholars have analysed the relationship between media representations and moral sentiments, from the emergence of “humanitarian narratives” in the eighteenth century (Thomas Laqueur) to the “humanitarian optics” of today (Eyal Weizman). This conference seeks to contribute to our understanding of the histories and futures of global humanitarianism by focusing attention on diverse intersections between media technologies and what Didier Fassin has called “the politics of precarious lives.”

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