This course surveys the history of humanitarian agencies from their missionary and anti-slavery ancestors to the present times. It teaches students the vocabulary useful for the understanding of humanitarianism. It introduces them to the historiography of the subject, the debates, approaches, explanations and interpretations of the major scholars, and the documents they use to write this history. It presents the main events, the actors, ideas, institutions, and questions. It helps make sense of the current situation of humanitarian aid, which is complex and controversial, and which represents an increasingly large domain of social life and public action.