Jessica Hawkins

Jessica Hawkins


Personal profile


Jessica received a BA in European Studies with German and Italian from Lancaster University in 2005 and completed her Masters in International Development: Poverty, Conflict and Reconstruction in the Global Development Institute (GDI) at the University of Manchester in 2009. She followed this with a PhD in Development, Policy and Management at the same Institute. She worked as a Teaching Assistant and course convenor in GDI between 2010 and 2014 before starting a lectureship in Humanitarian Studies at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute in August 2014.

Research interests

Jessica’s current research interests lie in the historical sociology of camp formation. This traces the concepts and themes which underpin modern forms of incarceration, such as refugee camps and their linkages to the camps of the past.

Her second research area focuses on Teaching Humanitarianism; examining how we teach difficult subjects related to violence, conflict and displacement. In particular, she is researching the value of student research visits to conflict-affected societies.

Her previous research interests are focused on state formation in developing countries from a historical sociology perspective. Specifically, her PhD looked at power relations within states including military and political power with a particular focus on intrastate conflict and state service delivery in Uganda. She is also interested in state-led humanitarian responses to displaced people from a historical perspective.

She welcomes PhD supervision enquiries on the historical sociology of state formation and the camp, conflict and development; colonial and missionary “humanitarianism”; state-led humanitarianism; and histories of displacement. She would particularly welcome projects on East African contexts. Further, she would be interested in supervising projects related to the pedagogy of teaching conflict and violence.


Jessica is HCRI's Undergraduate Programme Director and oversees all undergraduate teaching in the Institute. She is the course convener for the first year core module, Scholarship and Practice. She teaches on the postgraduate module on Humanitarianism and Genocide. Her research focussed teaching concentrates on histories of displacement and post-conflict reconstruction. Conceptualising the Camp is a third year and postgraduate module on the historical sociology of the camp and her MA module Humanitarianism & Displacement: Researching the Legacies of War features a research visit (in-person or virtual) to Uganda. She also teaches in the Global Development Institute on their Development Fieldwork module. Jessica supervises UG and PG dissertations.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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