Humanitarian Studies

Humanitarian action, those international endeavors that attempt to relieve the suffering of populations in crisis, and its ideological counterpart, humanitarianism, are powerful notions that cut across many aspects of contemporary life. Even as humanitarianism makes compelling moral claims, its actions are often shaped by political interests, expediency, and a technocratic approach to addressing suffering, all of which have potential to harm the world’s most vulnerable populations. The academy has a vital role to play in both understanding humanitarianism and improving contemporary humanitarian practice. The major in international humanitarian studies allows students to examine technical innovation and undertake theoretical critique of humanitarian activities across a range of crises and actors.

In considering international responses to suffering, undergraduates in this major will draw upon a wide array of intellectual tools and academic frameworks. Ethical, moral, cultural, and spiritual considerations confront logistic, economic, scientific, and geo-political modes of thought in circumstances of vast complexity: violent conflict (including gender-based violence), famine, and natural disaster. The major will also contribute to central aims of Fordham’s mission: research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, and the protection of human rights as part of a cosmopolitan education that prepares students for leadership in a global society.

An interdisciplinary undergraduate minor that offers students a comprehensive understanding of issues central to contemporary humanitarian affairs, especially as seen through the academic lenses of history, sociology, philosophy, theology, political science, and international studies. Students will examine the global impact of natural and man-made disasters, disease, poverty, conflict, human rights violations, and government and intergovernmental policies on international human communities. The international humanitarian affairs minor offers an in-depth analysis of the humanitarian field that will enable students to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge.

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HUST 4001. The Humanitarian System: Past, Present, and Future. (4 Credits)

In this course, students will consider both theoretical and applied approaches to humanitarian action. The course will be centered on ways of thinking and actions that bridge these two responses. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: INST, ISIN, MEST, PJCR, PJST, SOIN, URST.

HUST 4100. Refugee and Asylum Law. (4 Credits)

This course will examine the evolution of international law governing refugees and asylees from the establishment of the United Nations to the present, and the forms of relief available to refugees and asylees, both immediate and long term. This course will also examine the national responses to the influx of refugees and asylees in four specific countries to be used as case studies: Australia, Hungary, Sweden, and the United States. Legal remedies often reflect the mores and values of nations; accordingly, we will explore the moral and ethical questions presented by the migration policies and asylum law systems of the countries to be studied, including the practice of mandatory and remote detention, extraterritorial adjudication, safe third-country agreements, and the attendant violations of civil and human rights. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: HPSE, PJEC, PJST.

HUST 4200. Forced Migration and Humanitarian Action. (4 Credits)

Forced migration is a central issue in the provision of humanitarian and assistance. This course will examine the causes of forced migration, including violent conflict, natural disasters, development projects, human trafficking and others, and will use a variety of case studies to examine international responses to forced migration, the migrant experience, legal and human rights around migration, and the role of human agencies and NGOs in responding to forced migration. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: HPSE, INST, ISIN, LAHA, LALS, PJCR, PJST.

HUST 4300. Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings. (4 Credits)

In this course students will examine the myriad causes and consequences of gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings through legal, historical, political, social, and economic lenses at the national and international levels. GBV is a well-documented public health and human rights issue that is underresourced and poorly responded to in most countries across the globe. In crisis settings, existing systems for physical and social protection are further destabilized or destroyed; we will examine existing international guidelines and identify programming that has sought to address GBV and intervene in GBV in humanitarian settings. This course will use a range of case studies and will emphasize the perspectives of affected populations. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: HCWL, PJGS, PJST, WGSS.

HUST 4500. Evolution of Development and Humanitarian Aid Systems. (4 Credits)

This course digs deeply into the political economy, politics, infrastructure, design, incentives, and dilemmas related to the current international development and humanitarian aid system. Blending both practitioner and theoretical perspectives, this course takes a critical approach to the evolution of aid systems, with reflection on historical and economic context, interests and motivations, and perceptions of success and failure, among other topics. There is special emphasis on the perspectives and vantage points of affected populations. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: INST, ISIN, PJEC, PJST, SOIN.

Prerequisite: HUST 4001.

HUST 4501. Humanitarianism and Global Health: Unequal Access for the Displaced and Marginalized. (4 Credits)

This course will examine the greater impact of global health crises on marginalized groups—conflict affected, displaced, women, the elderly and LBGQT communities. Exploring through case studies the way international actors—including development institutions, UN agencies, states, private companies, foundations and humanitarian actors—respond to health crises. Trauma, epidemics disease, access to food, gender and human rights will be topics of concern. Four-credit courses that meets for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ENST, ESEL, HPSE, INST, ISIN, PJSJ, PJST.

HUST 4800. International Humanitarian Internship. (4 Credits)

The Undergraduate course on Humanitarian Action: Theory and Application offers an introduction to humanitarian aid work and provides an understanding of the complexities and challenges the key actors face in an applied context. The course focuses on teaching the common principles of the world of humanitarian affairs, with a cross-cutting, interdisciplinary perspective that also analyzes gender, age differences, human rights frameworks, and indigenous cultural approaches to conflict and post-conflict phenomena. In addition to these teach topics, students would have an opportunity to intern at prominent international humanitarian organizations in New York. These would help them gain the necessary exposure and understanding of the dynamics of such organizations and their mission. Students would be required to meet with, and relate their experiences with the professor periodically and be mentored on how best to utilize the skills they gain to further advance their interests in humanitarian aid work. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: INST, ISIN, SOIN.

Prerequisites: HUST 4001 and HUST 4500.

HUST 4801. Summer Humanitarian Internship. (1 Credit)

This course offers students the opportunity to reflect on internship with an international humanitarian on intergovernmental organization in New York City.

HUST 4888. Senior Thesis Seminar. (4 Credits)

The seminar is designed to assist Humanitarian Studies Major students through the main stages of their thesis: formulating appropriate questions; undertaking effective research to answer those questions; organizing, analyzing and communicating findings and arguments. The seminar is a single-semester course, taken in students’ senior year. The students will meet weekly to discuss problems of common interest under the guidance of faculty members from a variety of disciplines drawn from the major committee. Note: Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: SOIN.

Prerequisites: HUST 4001 and HUST 4500.

HUST 4999. Tutorial. (1 to 4 Credits)