Our Pauses-Culture-Recherche

To promote interaction between humanitarian actors and researchers in the humanities and social sciences, the Foundation regularly organizes Pauses-Cutlure-Recherche at the French Red Cross Campus in Montrouge.

Our ambition is to give concrete expression to the link between research and society, through feedback and collaboration between researchers in the humanities and social sciences and humanitarian and social workers, as well as artists.


For this 6th edition, Joël Glasman, historian and author of several books on humanitarianism, including Humanitarianism and the Quantification of Human Needs: Minimal Humanity and Petit manuel d’autodéfense à l’usage des volontaires. Les humanités humanitaires, will look at how the humanities can help humanitarian action.

The humanities are not a miracle solution to humanitarian problems. They do not make decisions. But they do enrich the deliberations on which decisions must be based.

The idea that the human sciences can be useful for humanitarian action is not new. They are generally used either to “stand back”, sometimes with very vague results, or to study a population in the service of a project, with an “applied” aim, for very useful but often uncritical results.

Joël Glasman defends, along with others, a third path where everyone can draw on the human sciences and use their tools, without underestimating the investment that this implies, but without the need to want to become a professional sociologist.

During this “Pause Culture Recherche”, Joël Glasman will present the three fundamental characteristics of what he calls “Humanitarian Humanities”-“Thinking the reality of others”, “Thinking in uncertainty”, “Thinking critically”-which are above all a specific mode of exploring the world at the service of practitioners of social action and international solidarity.

Please save the date

Thursday 23 May 2024

from 1PM to 2.30PM at the French Red Cross Campus

21 rue de la Vanne – 92120 Montrouge
Espace 21 | Accélérateur d’innovation sociale – 1st floor


  • 1pm – 1:05pm: Introduction of guest – Virginie Troit, Director
  • 1:05pm – 1:40pm: “Humanitarian humanities” – Joël Glasman, historian
  • 1.40pm – 2.30pm: Q&A and discussion with participants

The speaker

Photo de Joël Glasman, les Humanités humanitaires | Fondation Croix-Rouge française

Joël Glasman is a Historian and a Professor at the University of Bayreuth (Germany). His work focuses on the history of the state in Africa, the history of statistics and humanitarian action. His book Minimal Humanity. Humanitarianism and the Quantification of Human Needs (Routledge, London 2020) looks at the history of the notion of “humanitarian need”, a category that emerged during the 20th century at the crossroads of previously distinct forms of knowledge (on refugees, malnutrition, health, etc.).

His latest book, Petit manuel d’autodéfense à l’usage des volontaires. Les humanités humanitaires (Les Belles Lettre, Paris 2023), offers a précis of the sociology, anthropology and history of humanitarian aid. The aim is to provide researchers and practitioners with knowledge derived from critical thinking.

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