Ann Marie Wilson F'09
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Taking Liberties Abroad: Americans and International Humanitarianism, 1820-1920
This dissertation uncovers the long history of American thinking and political protest centered on the question of “humanitarian intervention.” Looking back to the nineteenth century, it reveals the diverse roots of such activism, analyzes its modus operandi, and relates its importance to the emergence of the United States as a world power. At the same time, it shows the challenges faced by humanitarians when they confronted debates about violence within their own county—as well as within its new imperial possessions. By comparing multiple cases, from the protection of Armenian Christians to the succor of Russian famine sufferers, one learns how certain acts of violence were transformed into international causes célèbres, while others remained neglected, naturalized, or accepted as just.