Humanitarianism, empire and transnationalism, 1760–1995

Selective humanity in the Anglophone world

This book examines the shifting relationship between humanitarianism and the expansion, consolidation and postcolonial transformation of the Anglophone world across three centuries.

Rather than exploring this relationship within a generalised narrative, an introductory essay sets out its key features throughout the imperial and post-imperial period, before carefully selected chapters explore trade-offs between humane concern and the altered context of colonial and postcolonial realpolitik with case studies distributed between the late eighteenth and late twentieth centuries.

Together, the collection enables us to tease out the relationship between British humanitarian concerns and the uneven imagination and application of emancipation; the shifting tensions between ameliorative humanitarianism and assertive human rights; the specificities of humanitarian governance; the shifting locales of humanitarian donors, practitioners and recipients as decolonisation reconfigured imperial relationships; and the overarching question of who Anglo humanitarianism is for.

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