Medicine & Humanitarianism II: Tested by Fire, 1870–1914 (CFP, Conference, Geneva, 24–25 October 2013)



Tested by Fire, 1870 – 1914

October 24-25, 2013

At the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the International Committee of the Red-Cross (ICRC) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movements, the Institute for the History of Medicine and Health, Geneva University, and the Humanitarian Geneva, Center for Historical Research, are organizing a series of research activities and colloquiums in 2013 and 2014.

The theme chosen for these activities is the role of medicine and physicians in the creation of the ICRC, International Humanitarian Law, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

In view of the magnitude of this subject, this initiative will take place in four phases:

The first phase was held on Thursday the 14th and Friday the 15th of February 2013 on the theme of the foundation of the ICRC and International Humanitarian Rights: 1863 – 1870.

The second phase will be centered on the role of physicians and health care practitioners, and the impact of the transformation in medicine and public health within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement during the period extending from the Franco-German war of 1870-71 to the eve of the First World War.

Tested by Fire, 1870 – 1914

Thursday and Friday, October 24-25, 2013.

The third and fourth phases will be held in 2014, the 3rd on the period 1914 – 1945 and the 4th from 1945 till today.

The second phase will be on the following subjects:

Institutional aspects and socio-political contexts

·           The concept of the neutralization of sanitary services and the wounded of war

·           The changes in health professions (public and military)

·           The humanitarian formation of sanitary services

·           Military health in international expositions, conferences and contests (Brussels 1876, Paris 1878, etc.)

·           The role of medicine in Red Cross meetings and conferences

·           The relations between the ICRC and national societies

·           The extension of the Geneva convention to naval warfare (1866 – 1907)

Scientific aspects

·           Pasteurien hygiene and medicine, disinfection techniques

·           The development of sanitary technologies in the  armed forces

·           The efforts to reduce the number of amputations

·           Sanitary statistics

·           Blood transfusions


Paradigmatic conflicts

·           The French-German war (1870 – 1871)

·           Colonial wars

·           The 3rd Carlist war (1872 – 1876)

·           The war between Montenegro, Serbia, and Russia against the Ottoman Empire (1876 – 1878)

·           The Serbian-Bulgarian war (1885)

·           The Balkan wars (1912 – 1913) and the missions of Carle de Marval


Red Cross interventions in peacetime

·           The Messina earthquake (1908)

·           The “anti-malarial ambulances” in Italy

·           Healthcare at home

·           The Meiji-Sanriku , Japan, earthquakes (1896)

·           Fight against tuberculosis


A few notable characters

·           Louis Appia

·           Clara Barton

·           Fréderic Ferrière

In view of the magnitude of this period (1870 – 1914) and the richness of historical sources available, we would like to stress two points:

·           Each communication should bring forward  new approachs or elements

·           The relation between humanitarian Red Cross and medicine will be the main theme of each communication

If you are interested in participating in this second event, please send your proposition (title, short resume and short CV) to one of the members of the Scientific Committee.

Deadline for inscription: April 15, 2013

Languages of the conference: French and English


Scientific committee :

Bernardino Fantini (see here)

Institut d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé, Université de Genève

Centre Médical Universitaire, Case Postale, CH – 1211 Genève 4, tél : 022 379 5790

(physical address, 8 chemin Thury, 1206 Genève)

Roger Durand (see here)

Genève humanitaire, centre de recherches historiques

Ch. des Hutins 47, CH – 1232 Confignon, tél : 079 666 5823

François Bugnion

Dr of political science, independent consultant in humanitarian law and humanitarian action

11, Ch. Pré-Cornillons, CH – 1292 Chambésy, tél : 022 758 1966, 022 723 2205

Dolores Martin Moruno (see here)

Institut d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé, Université de Genève

Valérie Lathion

Département d’histoire générale de la Faculté des lettres, Université de Genève

Rue Saint-Ours 5, CH – 1204 Genève, tél 022 379 7094


About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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