Laëtitia Atlani-Duault

Director of the Collège d'études mondiales and co-director of the Research department
Co-director of the Platform Humanitarian aid in globalization
Co-editor-in-chief of the new social science journal Socio


Laëtitia Atlani-Duault is a French social anthropologist. She is a Research Professor at IRD - CEPED (Sorbonne Paris Cité University, Paris V René Descartes), and is the current Director of the Collège d’études mondiales at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH) in Paris, France. The Collège d’études mondiales is an international center in the social sciences that welcomes « en résidence » internationally renowned researchers and gives them support, for periods from a few weeks to a few years, to carry out their scientific projects on innovative themes in an exceptional scientific environment in Paris. Residence at the Collège d’études mondiales enables them to write, to hold seminars or conferences, or to assemble a research team to construct and define new fields of research.

She is a recipient of a prestigious award for excellence in research (‘Médaille du CNRS’) awarded by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) for her contribution to social anthropology. Her work uses theories and methods from social anthropology to establish a critical analysis of the practice of humanitarian aid on both the local and international levels. She focuses particularly on the United Nations and its agencies in shaping humanitarian aid policies and practices. She also publishes on diverse subjects such as global health policy, the relationship between social scientists and the law, the spread of racist rumors on the Internet, and the history of French international “humanitarian state verticalism”.

Her publications include Au bonheur des autres: Anthropologie de l'aide humanitaire (2005 Editions de la Société d’Ethnologie; updated edition 2009 Armand Colin), Humanitarian Aid in Post-Soviet Countries. An Anthropological Perspective (Routledge 2007) and Anthropologie de l’aide humanitaire et du développement. Des pratiques aux savoirs, des savoirs aux pratiques, with L. Vidal (Armand Colin, 2009).  She has edited or co-edited numerous special issues such as Les ONG à l’heure de la ‘bonne gouvernance’ (Autrepart - Armand Colin 2005); Anthropologue et ONG, des liaisons fructueuses ? (Humanitaire 2007) ; Éclats d’empire, un nouveau Sud ? (Tiers Monde - Armand Colin 2008); Ethnographies de l’aide (Ethnologie française - Presses Universitaires de France 2011) ; and Chercheurs à la barre (with S. Dufoix (Socio - Éditions Maison des sciences de l’homme 2014). Her articles have appeared in English and French in journals such as The Lancet, Social Science and Medicine; The Lancet Infectious Diseases; Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry; Transcultural Psychiatry; Medical Anthropology; Public Understanding of Science; and Ethnologie Française.

Appointed Associate Professor in 2003 and Research Professor in 2011, she took up a three-year post in 2012 as Senior Advisor for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations headquarters (2012-2015). While in New York, she was appointed Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and also as France’s National IRD Scientific Representative to the United Nations (2015-2017). In January 2018, the FMSH announced her appointment as the Director of the Collège d’études mondiales.

She organized in March 2019, the international conference Extreme violence: investigate, rescue, judge.

Select publications

Morin C, Bost I, Mercier A, Dozon J, & Atlani-Duault L., 2018, Information Circulation in times of Ebola: Twitter and the Sexual Transmission of Ebola by Survivors. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2018 Aug 28 . Edition 1. doi: 10.1371

Timothy Frasca, Yves-A. Fauré & Laetitia Atlani-Duault, Decentralisation of Brazil ’s HIV/AIDS programme: intended and unintended consequences, Global Public Health, 2018

Atlani-Duault L, Brown L. and Fried L., The elderly: an invisible population in humanitarian aid, The Lancet, Vol. 3, No 1, January 2018

Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, Un pionnier du troisième sexe social, Socio, 9 | 2017, 37-74

Atlani-Duault L. and Delattre F., 2016, Is Aleppo the Grave of the United Nations?, The Lancet, vol. 388, No10059, p.2473.

Atlani-Duault L., Dozon J.P., Wilson A., Delfraissy J.F, Moatti. JP., State Humanitarian Verticalism versus Universal Health Coverage. One Hundred Years of French International Health Assistance Revisited, The Lancet, Vol 387, pp 2250-62, 2016.

Atlani-Duault L. et al., 2015, Blood Libel Rebooted: Traditional Scapegoats, Online Media, and the H1N1 Epidemic, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Vol. 39, pp. 43-61.

Rousseau, C., Moreau N., Dumas MP., Bost I., Lefebvre S. and Atlani-Duault L., 2015, Public Media Communications about H1N1, Risk Perceptions and Immunization Behaviours : A Quebec-France Comparison, Public Understanding of Science, vol.24, no2, pp.225-240.

Atlani-Duault L., 2015, Per La Felicità Degli Altri. Antropologia Dell'aiuto Umanitario, Napoli: Liguori (translation)

Per il bene degli altri. Antropologia dell'aiuto umanitario, Napoli : Liguori (Napoli : 2015)

Atlani-Duault L. & Dufoix S. (ed)., 2014, Chercheurs à la barre. Les sciences sociales saisies par la justice (Social Sciences Seized by Justice), Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme - Socio, Vol.3, 338p.

Atlani-Duault L. et al., 2013, Behavioural Research in Epidemics, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol. 13, pp. 367-368 (L).

Atlani-Duault L. & Vidal L. (ed), 2013, La santé globale; laboratoire de l’aide internationale ? (Global Health: A New Laboratory for International Aid?), Armand Colin - Tiers Monde, Vol. 3, n°215, 164p.

Atlani-Duault L. (ed) (2011) Ethnographies de l’aide (Ethnographies of Aid), special issue, Ethnologie française, Vol. 41, 148 p.

Atlani-Duault L. & Dozon J.P., 2011, Colonization, Development, Humanitarian Aid. Towards an Anthropology of International Aid, Presses Universitaires de France - Ethnologie française, Vol. 41, pp. 393-403.

Atlani-Duault L. & Kendall C., 2009, Influenza, Anthropology, and Global Uncertainties, Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 1545-5882, Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 207-211.

Atlani-Duault L., 2009, Au bonheur des autres. Anthropologie de l'aide humanitaire (updated edition) Paris : Armand Colin, 236p.

Atlani-Duault L. & L. Vidal (eds), 2009, Anthropologie de l'aide humanitaire et du développement (Anthropology of Humanitarian and Development Aid). Paris: Armand Colin, 360p.

Atlani-Duault L., 2008, Homosexual Repression and AIDS in Post-Soviet Central Asia, In C. Pope and R. White (eds), HIV/AIDS: Stories of a Global Epidemic, London and New York.  

Atlani-Duault L. (ed.), 2008, Eclats d'empire, un nouveau sud? Asie centrale  et Transcaucasie (Shattered Empires, a New South? Central Asia and Transcaucasia), Armand Colin - Tiers Monde, Vol. 193, 231 p.

Atlani-Duault L. (ed.), 2007, Anthropologues et ONG: des liaisons fructueuses? (Anthropologists and NGOs: Promising Relations?), special issue, Humanitaire, n°4, 80 p.

Atlani-Duault L. (ed.), 2007, Anthropologues et ONG: des liaisons fructueuses? (Anthropologists and NGOs: Promising Relations?), special issue, Humanitaire, n°4, 80 p.

Atlani-Duault L., 2007, Revolutions clothed in the colors of spring. Exporting democracy to the East, In M. Feher (ed.), Non-Governmental Politics, New York: Zone Books, pp. 586-592.

Atlani-Duault L., 2007, Sur les cendres des révolutions de couleur. Drogues et démocratisation en Asie Centrale, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest, 38(1), pp. 29-44.

Atlani-Duault L., 2007, Humanitarian Aid in Post-Soviet Countries. An Anthropological Perspective. London, New York: Routledge, 160p.

Atlani-Duault L., 2007, Pentru Binele Celorlalti : Antropologia Ajutorului Umanitar. Bucharest: Ed. Olimp, 191p.

Atlani-Duault L. (ed.), 2005, Les ONG à l'heure de la "bonne gouvernance" (Anthropologists and NGOs: Promising Relations?), Armand Colin - Autrepart, Vol. 35, 183 p.

Atlani-Duault L., 2005, Au bonheur des autres. Anthropologie de l'aide humanitaire. Nanterre : Société d'Ethnologie, 200p.

Atlani-Duault L., 2003, La ‘bonne gouvernance’, nouvelle éthique du développement ? (“Good governance”: a new development ethic?), Autrepart, 28: 165-179.

Atlani L. et al., 2000, Social Change and HIV/AIDS in the Former Soviet Union : The Making of an Epidemic, Social Science and Medicine, 50:1547-1556.

Atlani L. & Rousseau C., 2000, The Politics of Culture in Humanitarian Aid to Refugees Having Experienced Sexual Violence, Transcultural Psychiatry, Vol.37 (3):435-449, 2000.

Atlani L., 1997, Assistance aux victimes de violences sexuelles dans les camps de réfugiés. Lecture ethnologique des recommandations des agences internationales en matière de soutien psycho-social, Psychopathologie Africaine, 1997, Vol. 28,1:25-53.


Extreme violence: investigate, rescue, judge

Syria, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo
This conference has a dual purpose. The first aim is to study the approaches and practices of social scientists, humanitarian practitioners, and defenders of human rights in time of war, genocide, and mass crimes. It is rare for these three categories of actors to join together...

Will the Syrian tragedy be the United Nations tomb?

Paper of Laëtitia Atlani-Duault in Le Monde
The non-respect of the United Nations resolutions and the resort to chemical weapons in Syria call all the collective security system into question, believes Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, head of the Collège d’études mondiales, in a paper published in Le Monde, on Friday, March 30th...

Decentralisation of Brazil’s HIV/AIDS programme: intended and unintended consequences

Global Public Health
In response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Brazil moved to decentralise HIV/AIDS programmes to its states and cities but decentralisation has not provided the results anticipated.

Humanitarian aid in globalization

Understanding the changes taking place in humanitarian aid toda...
The Humanitarian Studies science platform provides an environment for dialogue and debate between researchers from all disciplines and those working in the aid field, aimed at supporting and promoting research on humanitarian aid. It is an open platform and therefore encourages...