Take this class! SÃ©verine is an exceptional professorâ€”intelligent, challenging, prepared, knowledgeable, engaging... not to mention that she spent years in the humanitarian and development aid world prior to becoming an academic. She has done extensive research on conflict in the DRC, and was referred to by a colleague as the expert on the DRC (her colleague who she invited to come speak to our class was the representative of MÃ©decins Sans Frontieres to the UN for 12 years). In short, SÃ©verine is exceptionally knowledgeable about the humanitarian and development aid community, in theory and practice.
In terms of the class, you will learn about the history of humanitarian and development aid, the challenges between theory and practice, contemporary aid work and interventions, etc. Not only does the class give you a broad understanding of the field, but in-depth study on various conflicts, aid strategies, international actors, etc. This class is taught from a critical perspective, so expect to spend the majority of the time critiquing how aid is flawed and inherently problematic. Throughout the semester, SÃ©verine invites multiple guests to come speak to the classâ€”ranging from an economic analyst for the UN to the MSF rep to the UN. The speakers are usually very interesting and engaging.
As other reviews have mentioned, yes, there is a lot of reading. But, it is not overwhelming and SÃ©verine does an excellent job of only assigning the sections of books which are relevant to class, pairing different texts together, pulling from a wide variety of sources, including essential readings for the field of study, and balancing challenging and easier readings. The reading reviews are not challenging and are good preparation for class discussion.
SÃ©verine also does an excellent job of being available and responsive to all of her students. She is very approachable and is genuinely interested in what you have to say and in helping you understand class material or anything else you want to talk to her about. She offers individual guidance throughout the research paper process and her advice is constructive and helpfulâ€”she seems to know about nearly every facet of humanitarian/development aid, and if she doesn't she'll help you find out. Make sure you go to her office hours for any help, she definitely wants to see you and help you in her class.