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RSC Public Seminar Series, Trinity Term

Imposing Aid: Thirty Years of Emergency Assistance to Refugees

Convenor: Dr Will Jones

Barbara Harrell-Bond's seminal book Imposing Aid was the first independent appraisal of an assistance programme mounted by international agencies in response to an emergency influx of refugees - in this case the Ugandans who spilled over the Sudanese border in the early months of 1982. Since its publication in 1986, it has been widely hailed as a key text in Anthropology and Refugee Studies, with far-reaching implications for policy and theory. In this series, we reflect on the continuing relevance of the themes raised in Imposing Aid, and its enduring influence on the shape of the discipline: the way humanitarian organisations work or do not work, the critical study of how such organisations may be paternalistic or unaccountable, the conflicts of interest and disparities of power which characterise the interactions between refugees and their ostensible helpers, and the place of refugees in the complex order of international emergency relief settings. Thirty years after the publication of Imposing Aid, these issues remain as urgent as ever.

About the speaker

Dr Tania Kaiser is Senior Lecturer in Forced Migration Studies in the Department of Development Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has degrees in Literature and Anthropology from the Universities of Bristol and Oxford. Her research focuses on forced migration in Africa (general), in East Africa, and in West Africa; culture & society in Uganda; internal conflict in Uganda; and conflict in South Sudan.

Podcast

Listen to the podcast of the seminar here >>