Keith Watenpaugh’s Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism brings the Middle East into the history of humanitarian aid and considers its entanglement with other ideologies in the interwar period. Watenpaugh’s work invites us to consider a crucial question: How does humanitarianism conceive of humanity? This essay explores how histories of humanitarianism are written and how humanitarianism itself constructs knowledge. Looking closely at the narratives that such histories authorize, it foregrounds the question of what it means to be human.

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