DV428 Half Unit
This information is for the 2018/19 session.
Dr Stuart Gordon CON.8.10
This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Women, Peace and Security. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
Please note that in case of over-subscription to this course priority will be given to students from the Department of International Development's MSc Development Management, MSc Development Studies, MSc African Development, MSc Health and International Development, and its joint degrees (where their regulations permit).
The course looks at international, national and local responses to conflict and natural disasters. Building on an analysis of the causes, construction and consequences of humanitarian disasters, this course focuses on humanitarian actors (including aid workers, journalists, medics, government officials, soldiers, politicians and peace negotiators). It considers the principles and the politics of humanitarian action, exploring the overlaps and tensions between practices of humanitarian assistance and humanitarian intervention and how humanitarian institutions shape and are shaped by global governance and state power. It asks how humanitarianism relates to ideas about human rights and justice, and the politics of securitisation. It considers why humanitarian organisations and governments respond to some crises and not to others as well as the critique of humanitarian assistance and the ways in which the UN and NGO communities have sought to professionalise their activities. The course also looks at how recipients of humanitarian aid respond to these programmes, and in some cases subvert or transform them into quite different projects. Case studies will be drawn primarily from Africa, Central and South Asia and Latin America. However, there is also likely to be discussion of ongoing humanitarian emergencies, wherever they are located.
32 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the LT.
The course will be taught in the Michaelmas Term and will consist of 10 lectures of 120 minutes each and ten seminars of one-and-a-half hours (various days and times). There will be a two hour revision session in late LT.
Five to six 'Voice of Experience' lectures of up to two hours (from 18:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, depending on speaker availability).
There will be a reading week in Week 6.
Students will receive feedback on seminar group presentations and have the option to write a formative essay, not exceeding 2,000 words. Essay topics will relate to seminar discussions and lecture material covered to date. Students will receive an indicative grade and written feedback within three weeks of submission (if submitted on time). Students submit optional formative papers within two weeks of the seminar presentation.
Stuart Gordon and Antonio Donini ‘Romancing Principles and Human Rights - Are Humanitarian Principles Salvageable?’ International Review of the Red Cross / Volume 97 / Issue 897-898 / June 2015, pp 77-109;
M. Barnett, (2011). Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press;
M. Barnett, M. Barnett & T. G. Weiss (Eds.), 2008. Humanitarianism in Question Politics Power and Ethics, Ithaca: Cornell University Press;
A. De Waal, 1997. Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa. Oxford:James Currey;
G. Loescher, (2001). The UNHCR and World Politics, Oxford University Press;
D. Rieff, (2002). A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, Vintage/Random House.
Take home exam (100%) in the ST.
The paper will be released via the course Moodle site. Please note that as this is a three-day take-home examination, extensions for disabilities will apply only in exceptional circumstances. Students who cannot commit to be available for the exam period may NOT register for this course.
Student performance results
(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)
|Classification||% of students|
Department: International Development
Total students 2017/18: 118
Average class size 2017/18: 13
Controlled access 2017/18: Yes
Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Commercial awareness
- Specialist skills
Course survey results
(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score
The scores below are average responses.
Response rate: 95%
Reading list (Q2.1)
Course satisfied (Q2.4)