Laura Bisaillon

Laura Bisaillon
Assistant Professor


I am a social scientist concerned about structurally arising inequalities. My research agenda contributes to scholarship on resistance to the state, social justice, and the politics of knowledge production. I draw from feminist praxis, collective action, and engaged pedagogy. I explore bureaucratic practices about people experiencing marginality, asking: how are these forms of knowledge produced and sustained? I use institutional ethnography and listen organizationally for how policy, law and regulation manifest. I am working on a monograph entitled, Disease, Disability and Decision-making: HIV and Unexplored Intersections Between Medicine and the Law in the Canadian Immigration System.I serve on the editorial boards of Imaginations, International J of Migration and Border Studies, Medicine, Conflict & Survival, Refuge, and Women’s Health and Urban Life. I have worked in Canada, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East. Je suis bilingue en français et anglais.

Academic websites:

Please get in touch if you would like to work with me.

Research Interests: 

Autoethnography; diaspora; feminist praxis; gender studies; HIV/AIDS; Horn of Africa; institutional ethnography; migration; minorities; narrative politics; social theory; sociology of knowledge; qualitative methods

Teaching Interests: 

Introduction to the Social Determinants of Health (HLTB41)

Critical Qualitative Health Research Methods (HLTC04)

Migration and Public Health (HLTD06)

Migrations, Mobilities and the Law (CRI3310)

Migration and the Workings of Social Institutions (CRI335)

SJE5009H Diasporas, minorités et éducation: Production des connaissances transfrontalières

Summary of these courses here:


Awards and Grants: 

Recent Selection

  • Im/migration, Mobilities, Circulation Working Group, Jackman Humanities Institute (With A. Zambenedetti), 2017-18.
  • Im/migration, Mobilities, Circulation Working Group, Jackman Humanities Institute (With R. Silvey & E. Harney), 2016-17.
  • Visiting Researcher Residency, Brocher Foundation, 2017
  • Lupina Senior Academic Fellow Award, Comparative Program on Health and Society, Munk School of Global Affairs, 2014-15
  • Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto, 2014
  • Research Competitiveness Fund Award, UTSC Vice-Principal Research, 2014
  • Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award for an Unusually Significant Contribution to Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, 2013
  • Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in the Humanities, University of Ottawa, 2012
  • Joseph De Konink Prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Ottawa, 2012


Recent selection:

Bisaillon, L. (2018). Labour of Liberation. B. Mukhopadhyay. Regina: Changing Suns Press. Medicine Anthropology Theory.

Bisaillon, L. (2018). Personae non Gratae. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis (in press)

Bisaillon, L. (2017, Dec. 1). A Ray of Hope on World AIDS Day for Canadian Immigrants. The Conversation.

Ng, S., Bisaillon, L., & Webster, F. (2017). Blurring the boundaries: Using institutional ethnography to inquire into health professions education and practice. Medical Education, 51, 51-60.

Mykhalovskiy, E., Hastings, C., Sanders, C., Hayman, M., and Bisaillon, L. (2016). “Callous, Cold and Deliberately Duplicitous”: Racialization, Immigration and the Representation of HIV Criminalization in Canadian Mainstream Newspapers. Toronto. A report funded by the CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention.

Bisaillon, L., Gooshki, E., & Briskman, L. (2016). Medico-legal Borders and the Shaping of Health Services for Afghans in Iran: Physical, Social, Bureaucratic and Public Health Conditions of Care. International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2(1), 40-58.

Bisaillon, L. (2014). Introduction: The Politics of Practice and the Contradictions for People, Policy and Providing Care: Investigations Into the Implictations of Health Work Organized Within State Interests. Public Health Ethics, 7(3), 225-228.

Bisaillon, L., & Ells, C. (2014). When Doctoring is not About Doctoring: An Ethical Analysis of Practices Associated with Canadian Immigration HIV Testing. Public Health Ethics, 7(3), 287-297.

Bisaillon, L., & Eakin, J. (2014, Nov. 12). Strategies for Understanding and Navigating the ‘Academic Underlife’. University Affairs (blog).

Bisaillon, L. (2013). Disease, Disparities and Decision Making: Mandatory HIV Testing of Prospective Immigrants to Canada. BioéthiqueOnline, 2(10), 1-6.

Bisaillon, L. (2013). Contradictions and Dilemmas Within the Practice of Immigration Medicine. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 104(1): e45-e51.

Bisaillon, L. (2013, Sept. 30). No Test, no Visa: How Mandatory Immigration HIV Testing Makes Canada—and HIV—Stand out as Exceptional. Healthy Policies (blog).

Bisaillon, L. (2012). Les impacts du cordon sanitaire ceinturant les frontières canadiennes. Remaides, 81(13), xi-xv.

Bisaillon, L. (2011). Mandatory HIV Testing and Everyday Life: A Look Inside the Canadian Immigration Medical Examination. Aporia, 3(4), 5-14.

Bisaillon, L. (2010). Human Rights Consequences of Mandatory HIV Screening Policy of Newcomers to Canada. Health and Human Rights, 12(2), 119-134.


  • Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Concordia University
  • Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
  • Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health, UofT
  • Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies, UofT
  • Migration and Health Project Southern Africa, Witwatersrand University


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