Governance, Law and Social Justice PhD supervision

We welcome applications from PhD candidates interested in conducting research in line with the subject areas covered by the Governance, Law and Social Justice research group.

Take a look at the type of research conducted by our faculty and the PhD supervisions they are interested in. More information about the ISS PhD programme and how to apply can be found on the ISS PhD Programme page.

prof.mr.dr. (Karin) CJM Arts

prof.mr.dr. (Karin) CJM Arts

Profile Chair in International Law and DevelopmentLaw is a major factor in processes of development and/or transition, either as an instrument of change or as…

My research interests span the broad realm of ‘international law and development’. I focus on studying law as a major factor in processes of development and/or transition, either as an instrument of change or as a vehicle for guarding the status quo.

I have long-standing experience in supervising PhD projects and in particular welcome PhD supervisions in the broad realm of (international) law and (sustainable) development, international human rights law, children’s rights, human/child rights-based approaches to development, climate change and human rights, and EU development cooperation.

dr. (Jeff) JD Handmaker

dr. (Jeff) JD Handmaker

I joined the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in February 2007. Among my external academic appointments, I have…

As a socio-legal scholar, connected to a long-term, inter-faculty and interdisciplinary research project with the Erasmus School of Law on Integrating Normative and Functional Approaches to the Rule of law and human rights (INFAR), I research the social and political dimensions of mobilizing law in relation to a variety of themes and pluralistic contexts, also as a form of counterpower to state and corporate-led lawfare.

Themes that I have explored include the many decades-long impasse between Israel and the Palestinians, accountability for international crimes and the (lack of) protection to refugees and other migrants (in South Africa, the Netherlands, broader Europe and elsewhere). Legal mobilization, as I regard it, takes a wide range of legitimate, law-based forms and includes, but is by no means limited to strategic litigation. By a similar token, lawfare takes a range of illegitimate, law-based forms, including, but by no means limited to SLAPP suits, political trials and other punitive measures aimed at supressing legal mobilization.

It is very important to me that the topic is decided by the PhD candidate. I welcome proposals from prospective candidates where my role in the supervision of the candidate would clearly bring added-value to the research project.

prof.dr.ir. (Thea) DJM Hilhorst

prof.dr.ir. (Thea) DJM Hilhorst

I am an expert in development in areas affected by disaster, conflict or fragility, with a special focus on aid-society relations: the impact of humanitarian…
  • Full Professor
  • International Institute of Social Studies

My work mainly focuses on aid governance, agency and development in areas affected by conflict or disaster.

My PhD candidates work on these topics in different areas of the world, for example on the nexus between peace building and humanitarianism, new forms of disaster governance or what to do when disaster happens in the midst of conflict. See my website if you want to know more.

dr. (Helen) HM Hintjens

dr. (Helen) HM Hintjens

Dr Helen Hintjens is Assistant Professor in Development and Social Justice at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.For more than 30 years…
  • Assistant Professor
  • International Institute of Social Studies

My main research interests are to do with post-genocide reconciliation and rights in the African Great Lakes region, especially in Rwanda, and with asylum and refugee advocacy and governance in Europe.

I work from a critical, rights-based perspective on these issues, and am especially interested in creative approaches to reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda, and advocacy for refugee rights and rights of undocumented people in Europe. I see these as 'two sides of the same coin' in terms of global rights and peace issues.

I am interested in supervising PhD researchers with a range of topics, and have so far successfully supervised around thirty PhDs in total.

prof.dr. (Wil) W Hout

prof.dr. (Wil) W Hout

Wil Hout is professor of Governance and International Political Economy at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam…

My research interests are related to issues in the political economy of governance and development, as well as on aspects of international cooperation (mainly development assistance policies and regionalism). Further, I have worked on governance issues in Suriname and Uganda.

I am interested in supervising PhD researchers who wish to focus on political economy dimensions of governance and development and questions related to international cooperation and regionalism.

dr. (Shyamika) SMS Jayasundara - Smits

dr. (Shyamika) SMS Jayasundara - Smits

I work as an Assistant Professor in Conflict and Peace Studies.My research and teaching focuses broadly on the inter-connections of Governance, Development,…

My research interests broadly cover the inter-connections of violent conflict and development. More specifically, I am interested in issues and topics concerning violent conflict (their formation, perpetuation, dynamics and transformation) peace formation, peacebuilding, post-war transitions, external interventions in post-war peacebuilding, state-building and security governance. My main geographical areas of research are Asia, Sri Lanka in particular and Europe.

I am interested in supervising PhD researchers who wish to focus on themes and topics mentioned above and who have an interest in applying multi and transdisciplinary approaches to their research projects.

dr. (Zeynep) Z Kasli

dr. (Zeynep) Z Kasli

I am an interdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching experience that transcend the disciplinary boundaries between political science, sociology,…
  • Assistant Professor
  • International Institute of Social Studies

My research is focused on the following themes:

  1. the interplay between border, migration and citizenship regimes
  2. extraterritorial state power, transnational ties and diaspora politics
  3. politics and policies of diversity indifferent urban contexts and cross-border regions
  4. legal consciousness, mobilization and framing with a focus on migrants’ and minority rights
  5. urban borderscapes as embedded in a global and transnational political field of power from decolonial and degrowth perspective.

I welcome PhD students interested in any of the broad areas of research described above and with interest in incorporating transdisciplinary approaches and multiple methods in their research

dr. (Karim) MKA Kniou

dr. (Karim) MKA Kniou

ProfileKarim Knio (PhD University of Birmingham UK) is Associate Professor in International Political Economy and Governance at the International Institute of…

My research interests focus on the political economy of governance with an emphasis on EU-Mediterranean relations , varieties of capitalism, institutional analyses, politics of crisis management and political ontology.  I also have research interests related to politics of gas, EU democracy promotion programs and Lebanese politics.

I am interested in supervising PhD candidates who wish to focus on institutional analyses, varieties of capitalism(s), the political economy of crisis and learning, neoliberalization processes, politics of social ontology, Euro-Mediterranean and Middle Eastern politics.

dr. (Farhad) F Mukhtarov

dr. (Farhad) F Mukhtarov

Dr. Farhad Mukhtarov is Assistant Professor of Governance and Public Policy at International Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam…

I am open to opportunities to supervise PhD researchers whose topics falls within one or more of the following broad themes:

  • Policy Mobility, Translation and DiscoursesPolicy ideas and models travel across various borders (often from Global North to Global South). By focusing on policy practices, documents and meeting this process can be made intelligible.
  • Knowledge Pluralism and Policy (Institutional) DesignProjects that are interested in how policy-makers and public managers can make use of multiple ways of knowing in public policy and governance. Scientific knowledge is one type of knowledge, there is indigenous knowledge, knowledge based on rituals, practices, and values. They all are valuable and need to be included in the policy-making process. The big question is how.
  • Behavioural Approaches to Public PolicyProjects that are interested in the role of emotions and nudging in changing environmental (as well as policy) attitudes and promoting sustainable public policies. The research approaches emotions and behavioural science from a public policy perspective and asks questions about the transition to sustainability through the so-called 'libertarian paternalism'.
  • Global Water Governance and Neo-liberalismThis is the most recent research interest that sprung out of the empirical observation of various ethical and political dilemmas linked to the Dutch foreign policy in the field of water governance aimed at the twin goals of a) development in recipient countries (in the context of Sustainable Development Goals); and b) profit generation for the Dutch. The rise of neo-liberalism in international aid, aid and trade and, arguably, global water governance, raises serious issues around effectiveness, equity, fairness and power relations that need to be researched and critically discussed. Within this line of inquiry, the research will seek to understand the role of branding, networking and soft-power leveraging in the global field of water governance.
(Sreerekha) S Mullassery Sathiamma

(Sreerekha) S Mullassery Sathiamma

Sreerekha Sathi joined ISS in January 2020. Prior to ISS, she taught at the University of Virginia, USA, in its Global Studies Program, and at the Department…

I lived for the most part of my life in India and my academic research interests have been deeply linked to my activism.

I am interested in working with students on projects that challenge and seek to unlearn existing Eurocentric and neo-colonial knowledge production in the social sciences.

In the past, I have been involved in struggles for the rights of women, landless communities, workers and slum dwellers. I have engaged with issues pertaining to caste, class, race, sexuality, displacement/ indigenous land rights, capitalist globalization, and civil and democratic rights in South Asia. I have taught specifically on feminist critiques of development, women in precarious work in the global south, women social welfare workers in South Asia, feminist research methodologies and epistemologies, social movements in the global south, caste politics in India and South Asia, and the Kerala Model of Development.  Much of my thinking and my theoretical and conceptual tools I use in research are influenced by socialist and decolonial feminist literature.

I would like to work together with my students toward incorporating activist-produced knowledge rooted in the subaltern global south. I welcome proposals from prospective candidates for PhD or Post-doctoral research who are interested in any of the broad areas of research mentioned above and are passionate about progressive thinking and developing transformative epistemologies and methodologies.

dr. (Sunil) S Tankha

dr. (Sunil) S Tankha

 Sunil Tankha is Assistant Professor of States, Societies and World Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University…
  • Assistant Professor
  • International Institute of Social Studies

My research interests are related to Development Policy, Public Sector Management and Climate Change mitigation and adaptation. Further, I have worked on governance issues in several countries in North and South America, Asia and Africa.

I am interested in supervising PhD researchers who wish to focus on development policy, public sector management, infrastructure development (electric power and water & sanitation), privatization and regulation, and governance of climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

dr. (Nanneke) SWS Winters

dr. (Nanneke) SWS Winters

My ethnographic work has evolved around the role and experience of im/mobility in people’s lives, in Central America and elsewhere. More specifically, I have…
  • Assistant Professor
  • International Institute of Social Studies

My ethnographic work has evolved around the role and experience of im/mobility in people’s lives, in Central America and elsewhere. More specifically, I have focused on families’ cross-border labour and carework; migrant trajectories and illegalization; and the interplay between displacement and emplacement. Theoretically and methodologically, I build on anthropology, feminist geography and critical development studies.

I welcome PhD students with an interest to work on issues related to migration, im/mobility and development; transnational families and translocal livelihoods; migration industries and migrant trajectories; borders and border communities; displacement and place-making; and ‘Othering’.