Why do we want to help? Motivations, History, and Critiques of Humanitarianism

Course Description

This course combines concepts in anthropology, global health, and international studies, with a mission to develop socially responsible global citizens who can contribute to efforts to effectively and ethically address humanitarian crises.

Global citizenship is the umbrella term for social, political, environmental, and economic actions of globally minded individuals and communities on a worldwide scale. The term can refer to the belief that individuals are members of multiple, diverse, local and non-local networks rather than single actors affecting isolated societies. Promoting global citizenship in humanitarian efforts allows all of us to embrace our social responsibility to act for the benefit of all societies, not just our own, and for all in our societies. During this course, you will recognize your membership in a large global community and how you can use your skills and education to contribute to equity in that community.

You will conduct a collective ethnographic project, with support from faculty and peers, to inform your thinking about “why we help others.” Data collection, analysis, and interpretation will be developed during the program with the help of peers and in-class activities.

During this course, you will learn to:

  • Clearly communicate concepts in humanitarianism to a variety of stakeholders or individuals
  • Acknowledge and understand the varied motivations and challenges in addressing humanitarian crises
  • Identify and strengthen personal global citizenship qualities that lead to improved humanitarian engagement


No specific prior experience or knowledge is required, however students should be excited to examine their own desires to help others and explore how they can be thoughtful in their future engagements in their own communities and beyond.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 15, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Nicola Bulled
Course Number: 10333