CC 300 EVX - Global Humanitarianism Reexamined

3 Credits
Professor Nunes
MW 6:30-7:45 pm
Cross-listed with INTL 390 EVX.
Partially fulfills cultural diversity requirement.

This seminar examines humanitarianism in historical perspective. Its reach is global. Much criticism has been leveled against relief aid, development aid, missionary efforts, and, in certain circles, even human rights modalities. These criticisms along with proponents for each effort will be examined. The format of the seminar will begin by reading a book representative of a form of humanitarian aid in order to comprehend the issues both historical and contemporary. Then two to three cases studies will be assessed pertaining to that form of humanitarian aid in order to evaluate their success(es) and failure(s); these cases will be drawn from musty-archives to the Internet. For example, why was Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution” a transformative success in Asia, yet his Sawakawa program to increase agricultural yields in Africa such a dismal failure? The intent of the seminar is to leave students aware of the pitfalls associated with the history of humanitarian aid, but resolute in their determination to improve the world wisely.

The seminar will commence by reading an emerging classic text about the ills of imperialism/colonialism, Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost (1998), to set the historical context for oppression and early humanitarian efforts to prevent exploitation. One effort Hochschild identifies was missionary endeavors. To comprehend religious efforts to propagate the social gospel, Authur Simon’s How Much is Enough? (2003) will be discussed followed by case studies including Albert Schweitzer’s “I Resolve to Become a Jungle Doctor.” To introduce human rights modalities, Lawrence Friedman’s The Human Rights Culture: A Study of History and Context (2011) will be read. Evolving from an awareness of global responsibility the international community created institutions to promote development. To assess these government efforts we will read Richard Peet’s Unholy Trinity: the IMF, World Bank and WTO (2nd ed. 2009). Yet most humanitarian aid is carried out by NGOs to great acclaim and vociferous condemnation; spearheading the critique is Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2010). Indeed many case studies will be evaluated. Finally, Muhammad Yunus—“inventor” of micro-financing and author of Building Social Business: the New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanities Most Pressing Needs (2011)—will redirect us towards more modest, sustainable development goals based on his vast experience.