1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Philanthropy and Humanitarianism

Edited By Katharyne Mitchell, Polly Pallister-Wilkins Copyright 2023
    332 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook builds a shared understanding of the troubling politics of philanthropy and the disturbing history and practices of humanitarianism.

    While historical work on philanthropy has long suggested a link between imperial rule and humanitarian aid, these insights have only recently been brought to bear on contemporary forms of giving. In this book, contributors link the long history of colonial philanthropy to current foundations and their programs in education, health, migrant care, and other social initiatives. They argue that both philanthropy and humanitarianism often function to consolidate market rule, consolidating and expanding liberal market rationalities of neoliberal entrepreneurialism to a widening population and set of institutions.

    Philanthropy and humanitarianism share a history, growing together out of modernist socio-economic relations and modes of imperial rule. However, the histories and contemporary politics of the two have not been brought together with such breadth or under such a critical lens before. Discussing philanthropy and humanitarianism together, combining both historical scope and contemporary iterations, highlights continuities and convergences—making the volume a unique introduction and critical overview of critical work in these sister-fields.

    Chapter 1 – Introduction. Monopoly Philanthropy and the Humanitarian New World Order

    Katharyne Mitchell and Polly Pallister-Wilkins

    Part 1: Philanthropy, Humanitarianism, and Political Economy

    Chapter 2 – Neoliberalism, Philanthropy, and Humanitarianism: Pragmatic or Faustian Bargains?

    Michael Barnett

    Chapter 3 – Social Impact Investing

    Emily Rosenman

    Chapter 4 – Universal Basic Income

    Stephen Young

    Chapter 5 – Labor

    Elisa Pascucci

    Chapter 6 – Political Economy of Educational Philanthropy: From Venture Philanthropy to Digital Privatization

    Kenneth J. Saltman

    Chapter 7 – Immunizing Against Access? Philanthrocapitalist COVID Vaccines and the Preservation of Patent Monopolies

    Matthew Sparke and Orly Levy

    Chapter 8 – Philanthrocapitalism Seen from South Africa: Bill Gates’ Charity Turns to Tyranny, Misfired Silver Bullets, and Climate Vandalism

    Patrick Bond, Liepollo Lebohang Pheko, and Alex Lenferna

    Part 2: Humanitarianism, Development, and Humanitarian Developments

    Chapter 9 – Humanitarianism and the Non-European world

    Beste İşleyen

    Chapter 10 – Design: The Colonial Imaginary of Humanitarian Good(s)

    Mahmoud Keshavarz

    Chapter 11 – Nigeria and the Humanitarian International: From Biafra to Boko Haram

    Michael J. Watts

    Chapter 12 – Neither "Philanthropy" nor "Development": A Tale of Two Buzzwords

    Jorge Garcia-Arias and Juanjo Mediavilla

    Chapter 13 – Careful Killing: Humanitarian Warfare and the Politics of Precision Violence

    Richard Nisa

    Chapter 14 – Humanitarianism through Ubuntu Philosophy

    Michael Onyebuchi Eze

    Chapter 15 – Celebrity: A Key Concept for Understanding the Power of "Helping"

    Lisa Ann Richey

    Part 3: Philanthro-Humanitarianism: Projects, Problems, and Practices

    Chapter 16 – Metrics, Legibility, and the Logics of Governance in Philanthropy and Humanitarian Aid: A Politics of Knowledge Approach

    Jaimie Morse

    Chapter 17 – Modernism and Technology in Humanitarian Action

    Tom Scott-Smith

    Chapter 18 – The Spirit of Climate Philanthropy

    Edouard Morena

    Chapter 19 – "Obstruction"

    William Plowright

    Chapter 20 – Nation-Building and Its Exclusions: Elite Philanthropy and the Limits of Social Reform

    Adam Saifer and Arun Kumar

    Chapter 21 – Philanthropy in France and Colonial Haiti: Bienfaisance, Paternalism, and Race

    Erica Johnson Edwards

    Chapter 22 – Humanitarian Futures

    Polly Pallister-Wilkins, Hanno Brankamp, Elisa Pascucci, James Smith, Lewis Turner, Tammam Aloudat, and William Plowright


    Katharyne Mitchell is dean of the social sciences and a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Polly Pallister-Wilkins is a political geographer and associate professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Amsterdam and is a co-editor of Geopolitics.