- Code INTR8062
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Department of International Relations
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject International Relations
- Areas of interest International Relations
- Academic career PGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Offered in See Future Offerings
Humanitarianism is a prominent powerful, though often vexed issue in world politics today. Debate on the role of humanitarianism in world politics often vacillates between belief in its capacity to transform the international system and frustration and disillusionment with its perceived failure to do so. In examining the role of humanitarianism in world politics, this course seeks to disaggregate these debates, revealing key themes, trends and questions in the evolution of the concepts and practices of humanitarianism. Central amongst these are the themes of assistance and protection that are often viewed as at the very heart of humanitarianism, along with advocacy and temoinage.
The course first examines the historical evolution and global diffusion of humanitarian concepts and practices. In this we encounter ideas such as the humanitarian imperative and humanitarian space, as well as discuss the genesis of movements that have been central to the globalisation of humanitarian practices, such as the ICRC.
In the second section of the course we look in detail at the concepts and practices of international humanitarian assistance, considering in particular some of the dilemmas and paradoxes of assistance.
In the third section of the course we explore the concepts and practices of humanitarian intervention. We critically examine the evolving relationship between humanitarian intervention and the concept of sovereignty; the emergence of the idea of a ‘responsibility to protect' and the extent to which this can and is being implemented.
Finally we examine the extent to which conceptions of humanitarian obligations have come to underpin state building projects states that have been identified as ‘failed' or ‘failing'.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Students by the end of the course will have developed both practical and theoretical insight into the evolution of contemporary discourses and practices of humanitarianism. They will have examined formulation, implementation and subsequent assessment of international humanitarian assistance. They will have grappled with the fundamental problems of how to assist, who to assist and when to assist, as well as learnt of the political pressures that shape where we assist. In addition, they will have critically examined the development of both the norms and practices of humanitarian intervention, placing these in the context of broader debates about sovereignty and protection in world politics.
The course is conducted through seminars with an emphasis on interactive teaching aimed at engaging all students in active participation.
5000 - 6000 words of written assessment, comprising essays, seminar papers and an examination, as deemed appropriate by lecturer.
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Ten hours per week: two for seminar attendance, and eight for reading and writing. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.
Reading required before course begins.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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