This project focuses on subsistence crises that hit Sweden, Finland and Iceland in 1867-68, and the corresponding humanitarian responses from Denmark. It explores the existence of a moral economy in mid nineteenth-century Europe that was intimately linked to the civic sphere and humanitarian enterprise. Using manuscript sources, official reports, and newspapers, the leadership and membership of Danish relief committees will be reconstructed, as will the backgrounds of the donors to these fundraising programmes. Through a local study of Aarhus, the project also examines the use of aid on an international and local level in the context of “citizenship,” and as a means of social and political advancement.
These themes connect the historical case studies to universal questions of disaster relief and fundraising in the twenty-first century, and particularly the “psychology of giving.” Why do people respond to disaster relief appeals, and what tensions arise? Among the topics to be covered here include: constructions of the past; ethnic and religious affinities; economic, trade, academic and cultural connections; “deserving” and “undeserving” recipients of aid; and tensions between supporting “domestic” and “foreign” causes.
Andrew G. Newby is Docent in European Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland. A citizen of Ireland, he is a former Senior Research Fellow of the Academy of Finland (2012-17), Fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2010-12), Senior Lecturer in History (Aberdeen, 2008-12), and Lecturer in History (Edinburgh, 2004-08). He was educated at the Universities of Edinburgh (PhD, 2001) and St. Andrews (MA Hons., 1996).