What motivates us to try to alleviate the suffering of people in distant parts of the world? This is one of the questions that threads through this course on the global history of humanitarianism. Students in this course will examine the origins of humanitarian ideas and institutions, and how various humanitarian campaigns have been shaped by geopolitical processes, including the abolition of the slave trade, the spread of missionary Christianity, European imperialism, the Cold War, and economic liberalization.
Questions include: who has benefited from various humanitarian aid campaigns throughout history? How have various humanitarian campaigns shaped, and been shaped by, patterns of global inequality? Why have some populations, and not others, been deemed worthy of the world’s compassion? We will explore the worlds, perspectives and visions of humanitarians through a range of primary sources, including diary entries, memoirs, journalistic reportage, photography, documentary film, and archival sources about Wisconsin-based humanitarian campaigns held in the Wisconsin Historical Society.
This course fulfills the General Education COMM B requirement. As such, students in this course will develop critical skills in research and writing. They will learn to formulate strong research questions, to find and identity historical sources, to evaluate primary sources, to develop and present an argument, and to communicate research findings effectively.
History 201: The Historians Craft – History of Humanitarianism
3-4 credits, undergraduate
Monday & Wednesday, 4:00-5:15 pm
Class Location: COMP SCI 1325
About the Instructor
Emily Callaci is an historian of modern East Africa, with a research focus on twentieth century urban Tanzania. She is currently at work on a book about urban migration and cultural politics during Tanzania’s socialist era, from 1967 through 1985. Building on her exploration of the politics of race, decolonization, and sexuality in urban Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, she has begun research for a second project on the transnational history of the family planning movement in twentieth century Africa.
Dr. Callaci’s teaching interests include urban African history, gender and sexuality, popular culture, Islam in Africa, and African intellectual history.