Keith Watenpaugh’s Bread from Stones explores the early history of humanitarianism in the eastern Mediterranean in the wake of World War I and the entanglement of humanitarianism and human rights. He provides an intimate examination of humanitarian aid workers, their motivations, and interactions with those they sought to help. Watenpaugh shifts the focus of the modern origins of humanitarianism from the west to the east. This book on humanitarianism and the displaced Armenians is particularly relevant in our current age when the displaced have reached unprecedented numbers and the global humanitarian regime is stretched to its limits. Watenpaugh’s work offers a historical perspective on humanitarianism much needed among the plethora of texts being published on the topic. In commenting on Watenpaugh’s Bread from Stones, Peteet homes in on the relationship between politics and humanitarianism and critically probes the use of concepts such as rehabilitation and resiliency.
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Julie Peteet; From the East: Shifting the Space of Humanitarianism. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2017; 37 (3): 619–624. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-4279308
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