Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

David Kawalko Roselli

Reader 2

Marie Denise-Shelton

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Madeleine R. Potter


The instance of rice aid in Haiti definitively demands a reevaluation of humanitarian aid in today's world. In this thesis, I will outline the effects of rice aid on Haitian society and theoretically analyze humanitarian aid’s presence in “developing” countries. In addition to ruining many Haitian farmers' livelihoods, rice imports have aggravated Haiti's economic situation and national stability, the consequences of which have fallen primarily on the poor woman. I focus on the effects on the peasant woman in this thesis. Food insecurity remains a crisis. Throughout my thesis, I draw from the texts of scholars Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Rancière, and Noam Chomsky, in order to attempt at understanding what is really going on here. Such theorists illuminate the historical and theoretical analysis of humanitarian aid and the concept of human rights that said-aid seeks to protect. The purpose of my thesis is to shed new light on the business of humanitarian aid, using rice in Haiti as a case study of sorts. I seek to uncover the role international donor institutions have played in reinforcing the fragile state in Haiti as a result of rice aid, arguing that humanitarian aid has done more to prevent than to inspire sustainable progress in Haiti especially in rural Haiti that continually gets hit the hardest during economic crises such as the one brought on by humanitarian aid in the form of rice.