As the world is challenged by a state of constant conflict and by disasters natural and manmade, support communities endeavor through humanitarianism to overcome human suffering and help to build more peaceful and safe futures. Humanitarian Performance argues that the humanitarian project - from its history and rationale to its contemporary practice - can be productively explored through the critical lens of performance studies. Using the outpouring of international support for projects to benefit survivors of the Asian tsunami, the war in Kosovo, and the crisis in Darfur as case studies, this timely volume explores humanitarian attention to these narratives and the stories of tragedy and survival that emerge. With the peculiar focus and international audiences that the media brings to local tragedies, these contemporary disasters - and the humanitarianism that they elicit - become performance on the world's stage.
James Thompson is professor of applied and social theater at the University of Manchester, UK, director of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, and coauthor of Performance in Place of War.