The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

Edited by Fernando Espada, Juliano Fiori, Tanja Müller, Michaël Neuman, Róisín Read, Gemma Sou, Bertrand Taithe.

Journal information

  • ISSN: 2515-6411 (Online)
  • Frequency: triannual


Detail of journal cover

The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs is an exciting, new open access journal hosted jointly by The Humanitarian Affairs Team at Save the Children UK, and Centre de Réflexion sur l’Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires MSF (Paris) and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester.

It contributes to current thinking around humanitarian governance, policy and practice with academic rigour and political courage. The journal challenges contributors and readers to think critically about humanitarian issues that are often approached from reductionist assumptions about what experience and evidence mean. It covers contemporary, historical, methodological and applied subject matters and will bring together studies, debates and literature reviews. The journal engages with these through diverse online content, including peer reviewed articles, expert interviews, policy analyses, literature reviews and ‘spotlight’ features.

Our rationale can be summed up as follows: the sector is growing and is facing severe ethical and practical challenges. The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs provides a space for serious and inter-disciplinary academic and practitioner exchanges on pressing issues of international interest.

The journal aims to be a home and platform for leading thinkers on humanitarian affairs, a place where ideas are floated, controversies are aired and new research is published and scrutinised. Areas in which submissions will be considered include humanitarian financing, migrations and responses, the history of humanitarian aid, failed humanitarian interventions, media representations of humanitarianism, the changing landscape of humanitarianism, the response of states to foreign interventions and critical debates on concepts such as resilience or security.

Editorial board


Managing editor

Phoebe Shambaugh, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL


Advisory board

  • Sharon Abramowitz, The State University of New Jersey
  • Heba Aly, IRIN News
  • Urvashi Aneja, Jindal School of International Affairs
  • Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, Columbia University
  • John Borton, HPG, Overseas Development Institute
  • Jeff Crisp, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and Chatham House
  • Samir Eljawary, OCHA
  • Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University of College London
  • Dorothea Hilhorst, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Shani Orgad, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • David Rieff, non-fiction writer and journalist
  • Lisa Ann Richey, Professor of Globalisation and Development Studies, Researcher and Author


The editors encourage the submission of inter-disciplinary papers that challenge and advance the growing area of Humanitarian Affairs. Details of the types of articles, including extent, themes and approach are below. Articles should be prepared according to the journal’s guidelines and authors can review the author resources area for more information on how to write and prepare their article and other MUP policies.

Contributors should send their articles to Phoebe Shambaugh, Managing Editor,

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs is an Open Access journal. No fee is payable by the author or their institution to submit or publish in the journal.

Types of articles

Research article

Maximum extent 7,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Original research articles are encouraged on any aspect of humanitarianism, encompassing both theoretical and/or practice-based issues. Articles should advance knowledge about the field of humanitarianism, including articles on the broader implications of the topic as well as those focused more narrowly on specific case studies, practices or concepts. The humanitarian sector is rapidly changing and faces a range of ethical, political and practical challenges. Therefore, the editors welcome original research contributions which critically engage with how these challenges are being negotiated in theory and in practice. In turn, contributions will draw from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including, but not limited to, anthropology, cultural studies, economics, law, history, organisational studies, philosophy, politics, public health and sociology.

We particularly encourage interdisciplinary papers and those that use innovative approaches to interrogate the field and identify new areas of inquiry. Topics include, but are not restricted to, humanitarian financing, migrations and responses, the history of humanitarian aid, failed humanitarian interventions, media representations of humanitarianism, the changing landscape of humanitarianism, the response of states to foreign interventions, critical debates on concepts such as resilience, sustainability, security, etc. Manuscripts should be original contributions and should not have been published elsewhere or be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. We aim to appeal to a broad audience, so articles should be written in an accessible English and any specialist terms should be clearly explained.


Maximum extent 1,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Op-eds should relate directly to the theme of the journal issue. Authors should concisely put forward an opinion, supported by argument and evidence that engages with existing debates or opens up new debates. Op-eds can focus on practical or theoretical questions, but preference will be given to those that speak to both practitioners and academics.

Field report and situation analysis

Maximum extent 3,500 words including abstract and bibliography.

Each issue of the journal will include two pieces reflecting on humanitarian programmes, recounting experiences of humanitarian practice, or providing analysis on a particular programme or response. These can be written as descriptive reports, analytical essays, or chronicles/diaries. Focused on experience, they should give particular attention to tensions and contradictions, innovative practices, challenges and struggles, and stories of success and failure.

Literature review

Maximum extent 4,000 words including abstract and bibliography.

Literature reviews or extended book reviews should contain the state of the art pertinent to a particular topic, present clearly to readers the challenges and debates around this topic and give indications on where to find the best sources. We expect this section of the journal to open doors and facilitate further critical engagements. Authors who wish to concentrate on a major new publication are invited to present it in relation to the wider literature. Authors who wish to concentrate on a debate and its wider literature are invited to present their argument through a clear and concise exposé if the state of the art. Submissions should normally be no longer than 4,000 words. Longer texts may be acceptable subject to discussion with the editor. Submissions will be reviewed by the editorial committee of the journal and are subject to approval.