Humanitarian Reason

A Moral History of the Present

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has authored Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present (University of California Press, 2011), which draws on case materials from France, South Africa, Venezuela, and Palestine to explore the meaning of humanitarianism in the contexts of immigration and asylum, disease and poverty, disaster and war. Tracing and analyzing recent shifts in moral and political discourse and practices––what he terms "humanitarian reason"––Fassin explores in vivid examples how humanitarianism is confronted by inequality and violence.