PSCI 423
Humanitarianism as Ideology and Strategy Fall 2021
Division II

Class Details

Since the mid-1980s, humanitarianism has been one dominant attitude that powerful countries, organizations and people have adopted with regard to poverty or disaster elsewhere. Humanitarianism aims at 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, provides structural incentives for people to do more or less than they need to, and deepens inequality between actors and targets. They contend that it legitimates the status quo, in which such things are bound to happen. This course confronts humanitarianism as an ideology through reading its defenders and critics, and as a political strategy assessing its usefulness.
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: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1711
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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