Humanitarian Affects

December 4, 2020

ANTHR 4176

Day/time: F 12:25pm - 2:20pm

Mode: Online

Instructor: Saida Hodzic

Liberal feminists and political theorists argue that sentiments such as compassion and empathy have the capacity to alert us to suffering, injustice, and oppression, and thus incite transformative political action. This interdisciplinary seminar explores the challenges to this theory by staging a conversation between postcolonial, feminist, and queer theories of affect, and anthropological critiques of humanitarian projects. Sentiments are mobilized to defend borders, wage wars, grant asylum to refugees, provide medical care and disaster relief, and inspire feminist activism. We will analyze how these gendered and racialized ethical projects and political regimes are co-constituted, and how they mediate access to resources and survival, as well as political agency, subjectivity, citizenship, and national belonging.


Photo credit: Khmer Anti-Deportation Advocacy Group (


drawing of people with words "hope is contagious"