PSCI 420
Humanitarianism as Ideology and Strategy Spring 2020
Division II
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Since the mid-1980s, humanitarianism has been one dominant way that powerful countries, organizations and people have approached disaster elsewhere. Humanitarianism aims at immediate rescue, striving to keep people alive until some solution can be found. It aims not to address crises’ causes nor to assist with solutions–which it considers political–just to keep human bodies alive. Critics contend that humanitarianism produces harm, providing structural incentives for people to do more or less than they need to, and that it deepens and restructures inequality between subjects and objects. They contend also that it justifies the way of things. This course confronts humanitarianism through reading its defenders and critics, by looking at accounts by individuals and organizations, and by assessing its usefulness as an international political strategy from realist, liberal, materialist, and constructivist points of view.
The Class: Format: seminar; three students start class discussion every day; one reads a short (4-page) essay and two read shorter (two-page) essays
Limit: 18
Expected: 8
Class#: 4022
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three longer essays, six shorter essays, constructive participation
Prerequisites: PSCI 202 and at least one elective in international relations
Enrollment Preferences: Political science seniors then juniors; other seniors, then juniors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PSCI International Relations Courses

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