DV528 Half Unit
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Dr Stuart Gordon, CON 8.10
This course is available on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is not available as an outside option.
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.
This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the MT. Seminars will be at or upwards of 45 minutes duration and lectures will be at or above 60 minutes duration.
Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.
Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the MT.
This will be a formative plan for the research paper (1500 words) on which the student will receive feedback.
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.
Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Department: International Development
Total students 2020/21: 1
Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills