Dr Eleanor Davey


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I joined the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) in 2014 and have also taught in the History department. From 2011-2014, I worked in the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute (HPG/ODI), where I led a project on the uses of history in humanitarian practice and policy. I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Melbourne and my PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. In 2016 I was awarded a Prix de Recherche from the Fonds Croix-Rouge Française.

My book Idealism beyond Borders: The French Revolutionary Left and the Rise of Humanitarianism, 1954-1988 was published by Cambridge University Press (2015). It studies the evolution of French responses to the ‘third world’, from radical political engagement to humanitarianism, with a focus on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It was joint recipient of the International Studies Association Ethics Section Book Award for 2017.

A special issue of Disasters journal that I co-edited with Kim Scriven (Humanitarian Innovation Fund) on the theme of 'Aid in the Archive: Academic Histories for a Practitioner Audience', came out in October 2015. You can find some of my work for HPG - along with other fantastic resources - on the website of the project 'A Global History of Modern Humanitarian Action'.

My current research, funded in 2014-17 by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, explores the relationship between humanitarianism and national liberation. A key aspect of this project is a study of the writing of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, which took place over four Diplomatic Conference sessions from 1974-77. You can read a short piece here about how this project emerged.


Memberships of committees and professional bodies

I am a member of the editorial board of French Historical Studies and have reviewed for journals such as Disasters, Humanity, International Relations, The Journal of Genocide Research, The Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, and Peacebuilding.

I am a member of the International Humanitarian Studies Association, the Society for the Study of French History (UK), the Society for French Historical Studies (US), the American Historical Association, and the International Studies Association. In 2017 I joined the British Academy's International Engagement Committee.

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