In the last 20 years, "Humanitarian Intervention" has morphed into a new global doctrine for human rights. Under the leadership of Canada, in 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations ... read more
In the last 20 years, "Humanitarian Intervention" has morphed into a new global doctrine for human rights. Under the leadership of Canada, in 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations established the so-called R2P initiative (responsibility to protect). R2P calls for a new international norm, according to which states have the responsibility to protect civilians living within in the borders of their state territory. Thus, sovereignty is viewed not as a right but a responsibility. The 2011 intervention in Libya, led by the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France, has fueled the public debate over the question whether humanitarian interventions are legitimate tools of international security policy or simply fig leaves of neo colonial ambitions on the part of western imperial powers.
The seminar seeks to fulfill two premises. First, we will retrace the historical origins of the idea, legitimacy and implementation of R2P with a particular eye on the role of British and North American thinkers and leaders. We shall investigate primary and secondary sources dating from the early modern period to the present and discuss the topic with experts working in the field of humanitarian intervention. Central questions will be: Since when do people worry about "humanitarian intervention"? Where do intention and terminology originate? Which humanitarian interventions have taken place since the early modern period, how do they differ, and how do they reflect on current interventionist policies?
Second, the seminar seeks to deepen students' understanding of using and perusing historical sources and historiographical debates for an advanced understanding of historical facts and contextualization.
1) Be familiar with, and ready to discuss, the required readings for class.
2) By 9:00 pm on the night before each class meeting, send the instructor at least two questions about that day's reading (email@example.com). The questions should be concise and to the point.
3) At the outset of the semester, come to the first meeting prepared to choose two classes in which you will make an oral presentation. For the presentation you will draw on the suggested readings that relate to all or part of the assigned readings for that class. You will familiarize the class with the significance of the additional material you have examined. Afterward you will prepare a short (1-2 page) summary of that class discussion an share this with your fellow students.
4) Write two short essays during the semester. The first paper is due no later than December 1st, 2013. The second paper is due no later than January 15, 2014. In consultation with the instructor, select a group of readings from the syllabus (or supplementing it) and write an essay that addresses some theme or set of issues. The essays should be modeled on articles that appear in Reviews in American History or something similar.
Your grade (Pass/Fail) will be based on class participation and the written work, equally weighted.