Humanitarian intervention: the invention of a tradition?

Humanitarian Interventions, Capitalism, and International Law

Add to calendar 2021-05-04 11:00 2021-05-04 12:00 Europe/Paris Humanitarian intervention: the invention of a tradition? Online via Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


04 May 2021

11:00 - 12:00 CEST



via Zoom

Josef Ostřanský (MWP-LAW) & Orfeas Chasapis Tassinis (MWP-LAW) interview Ntina Tzouvala (Australian National University).

In this session, we talk with Ntina Tzouvala about the links between humanitarian interventions and international law in global capitalism. Taking off from Tzouvala’s work, we will zero in on the instances in which interventions using force have drawn on normatively appealing notions, such as humanity and civilisation. In particular, we will delve into how international law —often portrayed as a neutral and horizontal system governing relations between equal sovereigns— has been shot through with hierarchies and distinctions. These hierarchies and distinctions have allowed more powerful actors intervene into the affairs of the less powerful states and communities. Tzouvala will discuss how international law is implicated in the reproduction of racial domination and exploitation, despite often being couched in the language of humanitarianism.

The Zoom link will be provided following registration.

About the MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop:

What is the ideological background behind the birth of humanitarian interventions? What legal theories have been employed to support it? And how have various political and economic interests interacted with and drawn upon the normatively appealing concepts of humanitarianism? Conversely, how has the notion of humanitarianism been used in resistance to powerful actors? 

The aim of the workshop is to explore humanitarian intervention as a key phenomenon in the birth and development of internationalism from diverse disciplinary perspectives. The workshop will critically examine the historical, political, and legal implications of humanitarian interventions from the past to the present. 

The workshop is organized as a series of three discussions with renowned speakers who have worked on the topic of humanitarian intervention from different angles with the co-conveners acting as discussants.


Pia Dittmar


Ntina Tzouvala (Australian National University)

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