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Laura Bisaillon

Laura standing next to a dark grey brick wall with graffiti on it wearing an oversized neon pink scarf

Associate Professor

Location: HL 214


My career has been dedicated to social research, services, care and activism. As a university professor and qualitative sociologist, I work on the social production and organization of knowledge about migration, health and the state. I publish in various formats, including book, article, prose, blog, film, photo and art exhibit. Since 2013, I have carried out institutional ethnographic fieldwork in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran and Romania. The bulk of my work to date has explored HIV-related policy in Canadian immigration law. “Screening Out: HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience” is my monograph that will appear in 2022 with the University of British Columbia Press. My graduate appointment is at OISE’s Department of Social Justice Education and the Centre de recherches en éducation franco-ontarienne. I am fluent in English and French and supervise undergraduate and graduate students in English and French.


PhD (Ottawa), MUP (McGill), BA (Bishop’s), CEP (Strasbourg III)

Teaching Interests

  • L’ethnographie institutionnelle : pratiques d’une sociologie alternative
  • Auto-Ethnographic Studies of Migration, Health and the State
  • Analyzing Qualitatively in Health and Society Research
  • Institutional Ethnography: Investigating Health and Social Problems in the Everyday


Research Interests

HIV/AIDS, Horn of Africa, immigration policies and politics, institutional ethnography, medical inadmissibility, migration, social organization of knowledge, sociology of health and illness 

Awards & Grants

  • Visiting Researcher, Brocher Foundation, 2022
  • Research Fellowship, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Amsterdam, 2020-21
  • Best Staff and Faculty Award: Scarborough Campus Students’ Union, 2018-19
  • Visiting Professor, University of Bucharest, 2018
  • Visiting Researcher, Brocher Foundation, 2017 
  • Senior Academic Fellow, Comparative Program on Health and Society, 2014-15
  • Connaught New Researcher, University of Toronto, 2014
  • Best Dissertation in Canada, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, 2013
  • Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, University of Ottawa, 2012
  • Joseph De Konink Prize, Best Interdisciplinary Dissertation, University of Ottawa, 2012