Humanitas 2012


Workshop Poster

The Centre for the Humanities and Medicine is pleased to announce the launch of HUMANITAS, a week of interlinked events that bring together faculty, staff, students, practitioners and the public to explore the challenges facing humanitarianism in the twenty-first century. HUMANITAS seeks to alleviate human suffering by creating a unique space that links research, education and practice, connecting expertise from disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, public health, medicine, business, and management. In the face of global humanitarian crises, the aim is develop strategies for improving humanitarian assistance and prevention, and instilling 'human' values in practice.



21 May

Humanitarian Violence
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm
Venue: Council Chamber, 8F, Meng Wah Building, HKU

Under what conditions are 'humanitarianism' and 'violence' deployed as resources in political projects? How are ostensibly universal abstractions such as 'humanity' and ‘violence’ constituted by particular historical, cultural and technical specificities? Participants from anthropology, history, music, politics, and sociology, investigate a variety of humanitarian projects to reveal the contingencies and dependencies through which humanitarianism and violence intersect and interact.

Speakers: Dr. Yvonne Chiu (Department of Politics and Public Administration, HKU); Professor Daniel Chua (Department of Music, HKU); Professor Didier Fassin (IAS, Princeton), Dr. Jeffrey Martin (Department of Sociology, HKU); Dr. Robert Peckham (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU). Chairperson: Professor Richard Fielding (School of Public Health, HKU).

22 May

Child Health and Humanitarian Emergencies
Time: 9:15am – 12:30pm
Venue: Council Chamber, 8F, Meng Wah Building, HKU

Drawing on evidence from the USSR, Japan, China and colonial East and Southeast Asia, this workshop explore the impact of natural disasters, forced migration and trafficking, state welfare systems and healthcare systems upon the lives of children. Participants consider how child health and ‘humanitarian’ intervention, underpinned by liberal universalism, were elaborated and how both helped to shape modern definitions of ‘childhood.’ They also consider how discourses and practices of humanitarianism were implicated in the (re)production of social systems that silenced, repressed and denied agency to the children they claimed to protect.

Speakers: Dr. Janet Borland (Department of History, HKU); Professor Hsiung Ping-Chen (Department of History, CUHK); Dr. Rosaria Franco (Division of International Studies, Nottingham Ningbo); Dr. David Pomfret (Department of History, HKU). Discussant: Professor Didier Fassin (IAS, Princeton).

Please click here for the programme and abstract.

23 May

Precarious Lives: Asylum and Refugees in a Global World
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00 pm
Venue: MTC theatre, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine

Speaker: Professor Didier Fassin (IAS, Princeton)

Film Event and Student Forum on Humanitarianism (with the support of CEDARS)
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:15pm
Venue: T4 Meng Wah Building

Screening of a documentary film with a presentation by Mr. Anthony Steains of FilmAid International, a non-profit service-based humanitarian aid organization, which produces and distributes community-based films on critical public health and safety issues such as maternal health, HIV, cholera, gender-based violence, conflict resolution, and more. The evening will include a student-led Humanitarian Forum, where students involved in humanitarian work will share their observations and insights into the meaning and scope of contemporary humanitarianism.

Speakers (to be confirmed): Mr. Anthony Steains (FilmAid International); Mr. Kevin Lau  (Business Administration (Law); Ms. Eileen Lee (Chinese Medicine); Mr. Glenn Qian (Science (Statistics)); Mr. Franky Xiao  (Business Administration (Information System)); Ms. Nancy Yang (Law); Ms. Gloria Zhuang (Arts and Social Sciences).Discussant: Professor Didier Fassin (IAS, Princeton).

Supported by:

25 May

HKU-Peking University Collaborative Workshop on Humanitarian Futures
Time: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Venue: Peking University

Participants at this symposium, co-sponsored by Peking University’s Institute for Medical Humanities, will consider new models of humanitarian practice and engagement and the emergence of new forms of international compassion, with a focus on Asia’s role in global humanitarian futures.

Speakers: Professor Daniel Chua (School of Humanities, HKU); Professor Didier Fassin (IAS, Princeton), Dr. Liping Guo (Institute for Medical Humanities, Peking University); Dr. Hu Lingying (Health Science Center, Peking University); Dr. Robert Peckham (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU); Dr. Olga Zayts (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU)

Partnered with:

26 May

Innovative NGOs
Time: 9:30 am – 12:00 noon (tentative)
Venue: NGOs in Beijing

Led by Mr. Chung To (Chairman, Chi Heng Foundation), academics, practitioners and students from Peking University and The University of Hong Kong will visit a number of innovative NGOs in Beijing, to consider, first hand, how the third sector is developing novel solutions to meet and overcome the challenges of delivering quality service in China. 


For more information about the Programme, please email us.