The IFHV supports candidates working on their doctoral theses. The candidates are in different stages of their research. The dissertation themes are located in the fields of international and constitutional law, media and anthropology studies, as well as management.
The IFHV target agreement ('Zielvereinbarung') has as one of its goals the development of a structured PhD programme (SP) to strengthen PhD research and education in cooperation with related faculties and institutes at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) (e.g. the Faculty of Social Science, the Faculty of Law, Institute for Media Studies, the Faculty of Economics, and the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy). The elaboration of the structured PhD programme was initiated in 2009, and will continue in 2013. Since 2012, the IFHV has officially worked together with the Faculty of Social Science and is preparing negotiations with other faculties. Admission to the IFHV structured PhD programme is subject to the decision of the Faculty's PhD commission ('Promotionsausschuss'). PhD candidates have to fulfill the prerequisites of the PhD regulations ('Promotionsordnung') of the respective faculty. The affiliation of the PhD candidate with a specific faculty is dependent on the subject of his or her PhD project and the institutional affiliation of the principle supervisor. Upon successful completion of their PhD thesis and its defense, PhD candidates will be rewarded the 'Doktortitel'/PhD title of their faculty according to the respective PhD examination regulations (Promotionsordnung). In addition to the official PhD title rewarded by the respective RUB faculty, PhD students receive a certificate upon the successful completion of the IFHV structured PhD Training Program in the area of Humanitarian Studies.
7 hut


addis 300


Annalisa Addis

Linking Relief and Development. Case study: Ethiopia

Prof. Dr. Bianca M. Carcangiu (Department of Social Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy) and Prof. Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Other important information:
Joint supervision agreement between the University of Cagliari and Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (IEE)

Humanitarian and development action are two different faces of charitable involvement in third-party countries, with the former focusing on crisis response and life-saving measures, whereas the latter is concerned with longer term improvement of living conditions. Besides having different objectives, the two types of action are guided by different principles. Yet, humanitarian crises often happen in areas that were already of concern for development actors, for instance due to vulnerabilities related to poor living conditions. As a result, the two ideally separate types of action end up being carried out in the same context. Furthermore, as many organisations with a humanitarian mandate also operate in development contexts, and vice-versa, it becomes more and more clear that the dichotomy between the two types of action is blurred, at least at operational level. Over the years, a number of approaches for better coordinating humanitarian and development actions have been elaborated, and are here referred to as 'Linking Relief and Development (LRD)', but they do not appear to have become mainstream. It is argued that different kinds of institutional pressures contribute to maintaining the humanitarian-development divide, even where collaboration happens on the ground. This research takes into examination the case of Ethiopia, a country where development efforts already coexist with humanitarian efforts in response to recurrent crises. Through a combination of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and desk research, institutional elements both pro and contra LRD are analysed.


behmer 300

Katharina Behmer
Local Negotiation of Global Norms in Post Conflict Societies: A Case Study on Gender in Peacebuilding

Prof. Dr. Uwe Andersen (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany) Enrolled at: Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

This PhD project seeks to understand how global norms are negotiated locally in post-conflict settings. This will be studied by looking at hybrid forms of post-war prosecution in the context of transitional justice in Cambodia.In 2000 the UN Security Council released resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, recalling the need for a gender perspective in peace and security politics on all levels of engagement. One of the three pillars of the resolution is prosecution, which has also been subject of the three follow-up resolutions. As global gender norms are frequently contested on national and/or local level, this specific set or norms will be used to understand norm contestation and negotiation in “glocal” areas. Following the logic of constructivist international relations theory, norms, understood as intersubjective, widely shared beliefs about appropriate behavior, shape the action and interests of actors in world politics (cf. Finnemore/Sikkink 1999). Norm change therefore implies a deviation of previous assumptions about normality that naturally is accompanied by norm contestation and conflict in various dimensions and on different levels of interaction. Special emphasize will be given to the analysis of power relations in international prosecution processes. The project therefore studies the emerging system of global justice on the one hand and the complex interplay of global and local norms on the other hand from an international political science perspective. Moreover, the project advocates the establishment of the rule of law as means of peacebuilding and a gender perspective in the study of war and peace.


fenrich 300

Katrin Fenrich

The Unexpected Effectiveness of Alternative Human Rights Mechanisms? – A Legal and Economic Analysis

First Supervisor:

Prof. Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

The concept of Human Rights traditionally lacks effectiveness due to non-existing or insufficient enforcement mechanisms. The United Nations’ individual complaint procedures cannot provide the desirable protection of particularly vulnerable groups that is needed to guarantee a universal Human Rights standard.
This PhD project seeks to analyze and compare alternative Human Rights mechanisms in order to use their yet undiscovered potential of effectiveness. The legal and economic research will examine the procedure of diplomatic protection, the compensational practice of international criminal courts and international investment law. The aim is to rediscover or open new paths to effective international protection of Human Rights.

fritzsche 300

  Jasmin Fritzsche-El Shewy

The Secondary Forced Displacement of Palestinian Refugees - A Case Apart?

In recent years, a significant number of refugees have been re-displaced from or within their country of refuge. Most recently, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees have been affected by the conflict in Syria. With displacement being defined in relation to the country of origin, secondary forced displacements are not explicitly accounted for under international law. Thus, multi-layered displacements such as those occurring in Syria leave non-citizens, i.e. refugees, facing a protection gap. This gap becomes particularly apparent in cases of protracted displacement and statelessness. The objective of my doctoral research is to scrutinise the status of refugees under international law in cases of secondary forced displacement. Looking at the manifestations of law on space and vice versa, it asks if the conceptualisation of secondary forced displacement as “overlapping refugeedoms” offers a tool to more comprehensively scrutinise the normative protection of secondary displaced refugees under international law? At the core of this study, I critically engage with concepts such as refugee, citizenship, nationality and identity.

hilleke 300

Lisa Hilleke

Water is Life: Coping with Water Challenges in Iraqi Kurdistan

Prof. Dr. Dennis Dijkzeul (IFHV and Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany); Prof. Dr. Katja Bender (International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE), Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, Germany)

Increasing water scarcity is an urgent global concern. Historically, some regions are more prone to suffer from limited access to water than others. Compared to most other Middle Eastern countries, Iraq was well positioned to access water sources. However, this has changed in recent years. Longer dry seasons, limited rainfall, and more frequent droughts, as well as a history of oppression, war, occupation, and sanctions have led to mismanaged, poorly maintained or destroyed water systems. As a consequence, Iraq’s water sources have been constrained over the last four decades. Currently, Iraq’s population must address both the negative effects of both oppression and protracted conflict, as well as the deficiency of its most precious natural resource and response to basic needs. Limited access to clean water constitutes a main cause for migration and displacement in Iraq and the Kurdish region, especially. This contributes to constant urbanization.
This research project assesses urban Iraqi Kurdistan’s challenge of accessing clean water and the presence of coping mechanisms for increased water scarcity and pollution. This assessment is based on an analysis of the population’s needs and vulnerabilities, with a particular focus on their traditional and religious behavior towards water utilization and the extent to which their coping mechanisms influenced by their dependency on the state’s political and economic system. The project develops the theoretical argument that political and economic environments can constrain the development of coping strategies that positively influence the access to clean water in the long run. It combines scientific research on coping mechanisms, access to water, and the role of the state. It concentrates on three cities in Iraqi Kurdistan: Erbil, Sulymaniyah, and Dohuk.


kring 300

Franziska Kring

Thirteen years after the emergence of the Responsibility to Protect: A means to combat climate change?

First Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

This PhD project deals with the applicability of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest emerging humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. As all previous attempts to stem climate change have proved to be inadequate, alternatives must be considered. One possibility may be the R2P, a concept developed in 2001 in order to prevent the worst human rights violations. This PhD project aims at analyzing whether and to what extent the R2P is suitable to oblige states to counteract climate change. On the one hand, the consequences of climate change could be subsumed under the scope of the R2P determined by the General Assembly, namely genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Another possibility could be the expansion of the R2P’s scope. Both alternatives will be examined in detail and a conclusion as to their suitability will be provided.


meis 300
  Mareike Meis

Der gewaltsame Tod und seine ästhetische Digitalisierung – Handy-Todesvideos im Kontext des syrischen Bürgerkrieges
[Violent Death and its Aesthetical Digitalization – Mobile Death Video in the Syrian Civil War]

First Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Philology, Institute for Media Studies, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

This PhD project studies the perception, interpretation and constitution of violent death and conflict in Syria (2011-ongoing) in context of an increasing aesthetical digitalization of conflicts today. It combines a discourse-theoretical and media-aesthetical perspective in the analysis of media reproductions of death on the background of mobile death videos recorded by conflict-affected Syrians and distributed via YouTube. The omnipresence of mobile phone videos in the reporting and public perception of violent conflicts challenges established power structures and brings about a new aesthetic and reality of death and violent conflict that potentially leads to a reframing of meanings and truths. Based on a genealogic-diffractional approach, selected mobile death videos are analyzed in different social and media contexts (YouTube, documentary and experimental film, art performances and pieces) in regard to the interference patterns that occur in interaction with other media-aesthetical and discursive phenomena. Drawing in particular on the iconographic history of images of death in war and conflict and on ero-epic conversations with artists and conflict-affected Syrians, this research explores how the perception and notion of death is influenced by the proliferation of mobile death videos and how it interacts with the perception, interpretation, and constitution of conflicts today  


6 koersgen

Ruth Körsgen
Das Recht auf Zugang zu angemessenem Wohnraum in der Republik Südafrika und der Bundesrepublik Indien – Gewährleistungen und Grenzen im Lichte internationalen Rechts
[International Perspectives and Domestic Legislation concerning the Right to Adequate Housing – Case Study of South Africa and India]

First Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Markus Kaltenborn (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Second Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Pierre Thielbörger (IFHV and Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Social human rights become an increasingly important motor for enhancing the living conditions of the poor in developing countries by means of legislation. Against the backdrop of challenges like population increase, urbanisation, migration and economic development, the social human right to adequate housing attracts particular attention. The dissertation will address the implementation of the right to adequate housing in South Africa and India. The builders of the South African and the Indian constitution implemented social rights in quite different ways. Aim of the thesis is therefore to provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of the two states’ legal structures and political programs for the realisation of the right to adequate housing.



6 montag

Heike Montag (Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher)
Pflichten des Sicherheitsrates und der Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen zur Friedenskonsolidierung
[Peacebuilding Obligations of the Security Council and the Member States of the United Nations] (working title)

First Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Adelheid Puttler, LL.M. (Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Second Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze (IFHV, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany).

Enrolled at:
Faculty of Law, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Additional information:
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (EAC FP7 Project ‘SPBUILD Sustainable Peace Building Marie Curie Initial Training Network’), from October 2010 to May 2012 at University of Graz, Austria.

Host advisor:
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benedek, Faculty of Law.

The thesis project focuses on the question to what extent there might be a legal obligation for the Security Council of the UN and its members to mandate post-conflict peacebuilding, when an authorised intervention by military means is being conducted. Reports and studies have shown that nearly half of the civil conflicts that ended relapsed into conflict within five years. Sustainable peacebuilding measures would help to reduce such a relapse. In response, increasing attention has been paid to peacebuilding in the UN in recent years. Almost all UN missions are entrusted with peacebuilding activities to varying degrees. It is in this light that this research project addresses the question whether peacebuilding is mandated simply because of moral obligations and political goodwill or whether there is a tendency to evolve into a corresponding legal obligation.