Prof Bertrand Taithe

Professor of Cultural History

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Research interests

After an ESRC funded research project on charity in Victorian Britain with Dr Julie-Marie Strange and Dr Sarah Roddy and a reseacrh project on UN security data with Professor Roger MacGinty (HCRI), I am currently working with Dr Larissa Fast and other colleagues on a project on attacks on Healthcare: RIAH. I am glad to be collaborating with Laure Humbert on her AHRC award and I am leading two projects on humanitarian handicrafts and on humanitarian exhibitions with Rebecca Gill, Claire Barber, Helen Dampier and Sébastien Farré and Jean-François Fayet. 

My next monograph netitled The Humanitarians a cultural History will be a history of humanitarian practices and technologies.  My research interests are primarily on humanitarianism and humanitarian aid practices.  A co-founder of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute ( I am interested in the history of medicine, the history of missions and colonisation in the French colonial empire between the Second Empire and 1939 and the history of humanitarian aid more widely defined.  


My research began with Henry Mayhew and London Labour and the London Poor.   I then moved on to study the history of medicine and war.  My first monograph, devoted to the history of Paris during the sieges, was consistent with my earlier work on urban representations and invited a reflection on the history of modernity and the city. Through my interdisciplinary work as a teacher we embarked on a collective venture on the Arcades Project work of Walter Benjamin. Our project, published as Benjamin's Arcades an Unguided Tour represented the congruence of our research interests in a given moment in the history of ideas.

A salient feature of this work, namely the history of humanitarianism has now been my central concern since 1999.  It is a broad theme covering the nexus of humanitarianism and war over a long period of at least 130 years, and for the later period médecins sans frontières.  


Research and projects