Tehila Sasson

Dissertation Fellow
2014-2015
Tehila Sasson photo

In her dissertation, “From Empire to Humanity: Technologies of Famine Relief in an Era of Decolonization,” Tehila Sasson (History) analyzes the emergence of global humanitarian ethics in the context of empire and its loss. While at first glance, the history of humanitarian ethics may seem to represent the rise of modern sensibilities free from political interests, in actuality this history illuminates the relationship between imperial and international governance in an era of decolonization. Examining technologies for famine relief, starting with the emergence of systematic codes for famine relief in colonial India in 1883 and ending with the humanitarian efforts to end the Ethiopian famine of 1985, she argues British humanitarian relief used famine to perpetuate and revise imperial governance. Sasson’s project demonstrates how in the twentieth century famines became the principal object of humanitarian interventions of this adapted imperialism and the site where the new ethics of an international community developed.