GraduateStudent
Tehila Sasson
The Rise of Humanitarian Politics in Britain, 1919-1985 My dissertation traces the rise of humanitarian politics in Britain during the 20th century and its influence on both a national and international level. The dissertation begins with the formation of the British non-governmental organization, Save the Children Fund, in 1919 and ends with the Ethiopian famine and the Live Aid campaign in mid-eighties, when a global culture of humanitarianism emerged. My research analyzes non-governmental campaigns and aid schemes in order to locate the development of humanitarian reason. By analyzing a set of changing political practices both in Britain and in the Global South, I challenge the tendency to see humanitarian activism as a practice that came simply from a crisis in the 1970s. Moreover, by analyzing more than policymaking and parliamentary debates, I explore politics from the bottom up, viewing it as a set of cultural practices including consumerism. The rise of humanitarian politics in Britain, I argue, was not only a response to the Cold War, but was also built upon the national and imperial contexts of the First and Second World Wars, social democracy, and decolonization. By the 1980s British humanitarian organizations went beyond the political context in which they were born and became part of a new kind of ethical international regime.
GraduateStudent