In her lecture "Calamitous Encounters: U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance in the ‘American Century,’" Dr. Julia Irwin of the University of South Florida traces the history of U.S. responses to international catastrophes across the first two-thirds of the 20th century, charting the origins of the contemporary system of U.S. foreign disaster assistance. Her lecture discusses the ways that the U.S. government, military, and private voluntary organizations have historically responded to major disasters in other nations and empires, and analyzes their varied motivations for doing so. It also examines several illustrative case studies, evaluating the successes, the shortcomings, and the complex politics of these humanitarian operations. Finally, it explores how and why international disaster aid became an instrument of 20th century U.S. foreign policy, and the diplomatic and political implications of this development.
In addition to the in-person event, there is an ability to attend via Zoom webinar with required free registration: