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This subject focuses on current debates and practices in the field of emergency relief in crisis situations, including both so-called ‘natural’ disasters and human-made disasters, such as armed conflict (or a combination thereof). It explores some of the major challenges and dilemmas of providing assistance in these complex contexts. We will embed humanitarian aid in a broader spectrum of preparedness, early response, relief, rehabilitation and longer-term development. On a more fundamental level, we will question how ‘exceptional’ these emergencies really are, by embedding their causes and consequences in the broader, structural background of vulnerability and resilience.
Intended learning outcomes
This subject provides a specialized contribution to the first mentioned learning objective of the Development Studies Degree, namely to understand current practice and thinking about development.
More specifically, the learning objectives of this subject are as follows. On successful completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to understand the policy trends and debates in the humanitarian sector;
- have a concrete sense of what crises situations may look like in practice;
- understand causes of contemporary emergencies and the need to understand these against more a structural background of resilience and vulnerability;
- be able to engage with contemporary critiques of humanitarian practice and underlying questions of evidence; and
- be able to take well-argued position in these debates in verbal discussions and an authoritatively written essay.
On completion of this subject students should have:
- the ability to analyze crises situations, their causes and dynamics and think through possible interventions;
- the ability to shift perspective between academic and policy perspectives and to treat the knowledge, language and workings of both realms at their own merit, and identify tensions and connections between them; and
- the ability to construct coherent and convincing arguments about development interventions.
Last updated: 3 November 2022