Politics of Humanitarianism

Schools of Public Engagement: International Affairs

Non-Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Politics of Humanitarianism

Fall 2020

Taught By: Peter Hoffman

Section: A

CRN: 8960

Credits: 3

What is “humanitarianism”? This course examines the international politics and history that underlie the ideas, social movement, and system of organizations designed to govern human welfare in five areas: to regulate the conduct of war, to improve the welfare of those victimized by war, to protect against mass atrocities, to give safe sanctuary and resettlement to the displaced, and to prosecute war criminals. Topics include just war theory, international humanitarian law, humanitarian action, humanitarian intervention, and transitional justice. Beginning with a look at the political philosophical and ethical underpinnings to humanitarian thought, the course then concentrates on the emergence of the international humanitarian system, both international humanitarian law and humanitarian agencies. With these foundations the class turns to an examination of the behavior and outcomes of humanitarian action in crises and the performance of legal mechanisms in the use of force and holding violators of law accountable. A historical review of key emergencies starts in the 19th century which helps to inform analyses of key case of the 1990s (Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo) and significant instances since 9/11 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen), including those that have tended to be marginalized (Darfur, South Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, North Korea, Myanmar, and sexual violence in war) that are nonetheless representation of the contemporary context. Sessions will also take up profound innovations such as the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Furthermore, in order to apprehend core challenges and trends, after concentrating on case studies the class spotlights major theme such as displacement camps, public health, environmental emergencies, media narratives, and marketization pressures. Finally, the class concludes with an evaluation of the international humanitarian system and considers its future by taking up both scholarly puzzles and practical problems of humanitarianism.

This course is part of the Conflict & Security concentration and Governance & Rights concentration in the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: International Affairs (NINT)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 21

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:20am 2/28/2021 EST

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