Politics of Humanitarianism

Course Details

Faculty: Peter Hoffman
Wednesday 8:00pm - 9:50PM
NINT 6415 CRN 6090

This course examines the international politics and history that underlie the ideas, social movement, and system of organizations designed to regulate the conduct of war, to improve the welfare of those victimized by war, and to prosecute war criminals. Topics include just war theory, international humanitarian law, humanitarian action and intervention, man-made vs. natural disasters, relationship to human rights, transitional justice, and public vs. private sector actors. 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 though there is a greater focus on the post-Cold War and post-9/11 periods. Cases-by-case analyses of crises since 1989-Somalia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Haiti, Libya and others-help inform the overall study of trends in the humanitarian sector and illustrate contemporary challenges. Sessions will also take up innovations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). Finally the class will turn to an evaluation of the international humanitarian system and consider its future.

Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate
Course Attributes: Liberal Arts, Open to Non Major with Restrictions

Photo: American Red Cross Los Angeles Region

Project Details

  • Categories:

    Conflict and Security
    Governance and Rights

  • November 20, 2017