Killing With Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs
Friday, March 8, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
Room 404W of King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC), 53 Washington Square South, New York University, New York NY 10012 (map)
Mark Schuller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership Development at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the Faculté d’Ethnologie, l’Université d’État d’Haïti. Supported by the National Science Foundation and others, Schuller’s research on globalization, NGOs, gender, and disasters in Haiti has been published in twenty book chapters and peer-reviewed articles as well as public media, including a column in Huffington Post. He is the author of Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs (Rutgers, 2012) and co-editor of three volumes, including Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake (Kumarian Press, 2012). He is co-director / co-producer of documentary Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy (Documentary Educational Resources, 2009He chairs the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Human Rights and Social Justice Committee, serves on several boards, and is active in many solidarity efforts.
Set in Haiti during the 2004 coup and aftermath and enhanced by research conducted after the 2010 earthquake, Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs, by Mark Schuller, analyzes the impact of official development aid on recipient nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their relationships with local communities.
Written like a detective story, Killing with Kindness offers rich ethnographic comparisons of two Haitian women’s NGOs working in HIV/AIDS prevention, one with public funding (including USAID), the other with private European NGO partners. Schuller looks at participation and autonomy, analyzing donor policies that inhibit these goals. He focuses on NGOs’ roles as intermediaries in “gluing” the contemporary world system together and shows how power works within the aid system as these intermediaries impose interpretations of unclear mandates down the chain—a process Schuller calls “trickle-down imperialism.”
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