Francesca Piana

Postdoctoral fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation, based at the University of Zürich

Francesca is a postdoctoral fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation, currently based at the University of Zürich. She has held research fellowships at Binghamton University, Birkbeck, Columbia University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her PhD in International History and Politics won the Pierre du Bois Prize for the best dissertation in international history of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Francesca is currently completing a monograph on the role of international humanitarian organizations vis-à-vis prisoners of war and refugees in the long aftermath of WWI. She is co-editing a volume with Jo Laycock (Sheffield Hallam), provisionally entitled Aid to Armenia. Humanitarian Aid, Relief, and Interventions from 1890s to Present. She is also conducting research for a second monograph, entitled Re(birthing) Humanity. A Gendered History of Protestant Humanitarian Aid, 1900s-1950s. This book studies the transnational lives of three women: Ruth A. Parmelee, an American missionary doctor; Suzanne Ferrière, a Swiss humanitarian; and Anna Ruth Fry, a British Quaker. Through their private and professional lives, it analyses gendered humanitarian practices in the provision of medical help, food or clothing, as well as in their negotiations at the headquarters of international organisations. With a focus on ‘minor’ actors in all sort of international humanitarian projects and based on a range of archival sources, Francesca’s research internationalises women’s history and complicates the scales, spaces, and motives behind international humanitarianism.