Department of Sociology and Legal Studies and
Balsillie School of International Affairs
Co-Editor of Studies in Social Justice
PhD Sociology (Carleton)
MA Sociology (Dalhousie)
BA Honours (St. Mary’s)
519-888-4567 x 41022
Research and teaching areas
- Migration and border studies
- Political sociology
- Citizenship and social justice
- Critical development and humanitarian aid
Dr. Suzan Ilcan is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. She received her PhD in Sociology from Carleton University. Before coming to the University of Waterloo, she held a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2), from 2002-2011.
Suzan Ilcan’s research covers three broad areas: migration and border studies, critical development and humanitarian aid, and citizenship, human rights, and social justice. She has published widely, presented many invited lectures nationally and internationally, and received several research grants in these areas. Her current research projects examine migration policies, bordering practices, and humanitarian aid initiatives in the context of migrants’ experiences of displacement, precarity, protection, and resettlement.
Her research on migration, displacement, and the resettlement of Syrian refugees has appeared in several academic journals and public venues, and in a new book, entitled, The Precarious Lives of Syrians: Migration, Citizenship, and Temporary Protection in Turkey (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021), with Kim Rygiel (BSIA) and Feyzi Baban (University of Trent). This research has been supported by grants she received, as Principal Investigator, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She also has a forthcoming co-edited book (with Palgrave) that stems from her research on Syrian refugee experiences of ‘re/making home’, carried out for the British Academy project “Lost and Found? A Digital Archive of Testimonies of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement” (with Principal Investigator: Yasmine Shamma, University of Reading and Co-Investigator Vicki Squire, University of Warwick). Suzan Ilcan’s new research project, “Border Frictions: Shaping Transnational Relations via Migrant Journeys, Resettlement, and Community Building in the Context of Syrian Displacement,” with Co-Investigator Seçil Dağtaş (University of Waterloo), is a four-year project that started in May 2021.
Suzan Ilcan is the Program Director of the University of Waterloo’s MA in Global Governance (at BSIA). She regularly teaches graduate and undergraduate seminars on international migration and crossing borders. She supervises PhD and MA graduate students, primarily in the areas of migration studies, critical border studies, and citizenship, human rights, and social justice. She welcomes graduate students to contact her about their research interests on topics dealing with or related to her research areas.
Suzan Ilcan is the co-editor of the journal Studies in Social Justice and a member of the editorial board of Globalizations and of the Balsillie Papers. She also serves as a board member of the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and Balsillie School of International Affairs. She is the recipient of the 2020 Arts Award for Excellence in Research (University of Waterloo) and of the 2018 (and 2014) Outstanding Performance Award in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service, University of Waterloo.
Selected refereed publications
- Baban, F., S. Ilcan, and K. Rygiel. 2021. The Precarious Lives of Syrians: Migration, Citizenship, and Temporary Protection in Turkey. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- Gabay, C. and S. Ilcan, Eds. 2019. The Politics of Destination in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: Leaving no one Behind? New York: Routledge.
- Ilcan, S. Ed. 2013. Mobilities, Knowledge and Social Justice. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 519 pages.
- Basok, T. and S. Ilcan 2013. Issues in Social Justice: Citizenship and Transnational Struggles. Oxford University Press.
- Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey 2011. Governing the Poor: Exercises of Poverty Reduction, Practices of Global Aid. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 336 pages.
- Gabriel, B. and S. Ilcan, Eds. 2004. Post-modernism and the Ethical Subject. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 359 pages.
- Ilcan, S. 2002. Longing in Belonging: The Cultural Politics of Settlement. Westport and London: Praeger. 152 pages.
- Ilcan, S. & L. Phillips, Eds. 1998. Transgressing Borders: Critical Perspectives on Gender, Household, and Culture. Westport: Bergin & Garvey. 288 pages.
Special journal issues edited
- Gabay, C. and S. Ilcan, Eds. 2017. "Leaving no one behind? The politics of destination in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals." Special Issue of Globalizations. Volume 17, Number 2. (reproduced by Routledge in 2019).
- Ilcan, S. & A. Lacey, Eds. 2013. Special Journal Issue: “Networks of Social Justice: Transnational Activism and Social Change.” Studies in Social Justice. 7(1).
- Basok, T., S. Ilcan, & J. Noonan, Eds. 2008. Special Journal Issue: “Social Justice and Citizenship.” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice. 20(3). Pages 261-413.
- Basok, T., S. Ilcan, & J. Noonan, Eds. 2006. Special Journal Issue: “Citizenship, Human Rights, and Social Justice.” Citizenship Studies. 10(3). Pages 267-372.
- Ilcan, S. 2000. Guest Co-Editor. Special Journal Issue: “Social Assemblages: Space and Sociation.” Space and Culture. Volume 7. 84 pages.
Basok, T. and S. Ilcan. 2022. “Migration, Citizenship, and Human Rights.” Thomas Faist and Marisol Garcia, Eds. The Encyclopedia of Citizenship Studies. Edward Elgar Publishing. In press.
- Ilcan, S. In Press. “Situating non-citizenship: Humanitarian aid, self-reliance schemes, and migrant agency”. In Neoliberal Contentions: Essays in Honour of Janine Brodie. Edited by Lois Harder, Catherine Kellogg, and Steve Patten. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- Ilcan, S. and L. Connoy. 2021. “Critical Localism and the Privatisation of Refuge: The Resettlement of Syrian Newcomers in Canada.” Refugee Survey Quarterly. 40(3): 293-314.
- Ilcan, S. 2021. “The Border Harms of Human Displacement: Harsh Landscapes and Human Rights Violations.” Social Sciences 10: 123. For the Special Issue: Human Rights and Displaced People in Exceptional Times.
- Ilcan, S. 2020. “The Borderization of Waiting: Negotiating Borders and Migration in the 2011 Syrian Civil Conflict”. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2399654420943593 For the Special Issue: Border Violence and Alternative Horizons of Migration.
- Ilcan, S. 2018. “Fleeing Syria – Border-Crossing and Struggles for Migrant Justice”. In David Butz and Nancy Cook, eds., Mobilities, Mobility Justice, and Social Justice. London, UK: Routledge.
- Ilcan, 2018. “The Humanitarian-Citizenship Nexus: Citizenship Training in Self-Reliance Strategies for Refugees.” Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 100(2): 97-111.
- Ilcan, S., K. Rygiel and F. Baban. 2018. “The Ambiguous Architecture of Precarity: Temporary Protection, Everyday Living, and Migrant Journeys of Syrian Refugees.” International Journal of Migration and Borders 4(1/2): 51-70.
- Oliver, M. and Ilcan, S. 2018. “The Politics of Protection and the Right to Food in Protracted Refugee Situations.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 37(4): 440-457.
- Baban, F., S. Ilcan and K. Rygiel, 2017. "Syrian refugees in Turkey: Pathways to Precarity, Differential Inclusion, and Negotiated Citizenship Rights". Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 43(1): 41-57.
- Baban, F., S. Ilcan, and K. Rygiel. 2017. "Playing Border Politics with Urban Syrian Refugees: Legal Ambiguities, Insecurities, and Humanitarian Assistance in Turkey." Movements: Journal für kritische Migrations- und Grenzregimeforschung.
- Ilcan, S., M. Oliver, and L. Connoy. 2017. "Humanitarian Assistance, Refugee Management, and Self-Reliance Schemes: Nakivale Refugee Settlement". In Luann Good-Gingrich and Stefan Köngeter, eds., Transnational social policy – Social support in a world on the move. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 152-177.
- Gabay, C. and S. Ilcan 2017. "The Affective Politics of the Sustainable Development Goals: Partnership, Capacity-building, and Big Data". Globalizations 14(3): 468-485.
- O’Connor, D., P. Boyle, S. Ilcan and M. Oliver. 2016. “Living with Insecurity” Food Security, Resilience, and the World Food Programme.” Global Social Policy. Published Online (29 July, 1-18pp): DOI: 10.1177/1468018116658776.
- Rygiel, K., F. Baban and S. Ilcan. 2016. “The Syrian Refugee Crisis: The EU-Turkey ‘Deal’ and Temporary Protection.” Global Social Policy 16:3 (Forum). In Press.
- Ilcan, S., M. Oliver and L. Connoy. 2015. Humanitarian Assistance and the Politics of Self-reliance: Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement. CIGI Papers No. 86. (December). Reprinted in International Refugee Rights Initiatives - Rights in Exile Newsletter, May 2016.
- Ilcan, S. and K. Rygiel. 2015. ‘“Resiliency Humanitarianism’: Responsibilizing Refugees through Humanitarian Emergency Governance in the Camp.” International Political Sociology. 9: 333-351.
- Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey. 2015. "Enacting the Millennium Development Goals: Political Technologies of Calculation and the Counter-calculation of Poverty in Namibia". Globalizations 12(4): 613-628.
- Ilcan, S. 2014. "Activist Citizenship and the Politics of Mobility in Osire Refugee Camp". In Engin Isin and Peter Nyers, Eds., Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies. London: Routledge. Pp. 186-195.
- O’Connor, D., K. Brisson-Boivin, and S. Ilcan 2014. "Governing Failure: Development, Aid, and Audit in Haiti." Conflict, Security and Development. 14 (3): 309-330.
- Lacey, A. and S. Ilcan, 2014. “Tourism for Development and the New Global Aid Regime”. Global Social Policy 15(1): 40-60.
- Connoy, L. and Ilcan, S. 2013. "Township Tourism and the Political Spaces of Katutura." Journal of Namibian Studies 13: 33-54.
- Ilcan, S. 2013. “Paradoxes of Humanitarian Aid: Mobile Populations, Biopolitical Knowledge, and Acts of Social Justice in Osire Refugee Camp”. In S. Ilcan, Ed., Mobilities, Knowledge and Social Justice. Montreal and London: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- Ilcan, S. and R. Aitken 2012. “Postwar World Order, Displaced Persons, and Biopolitical Management." Globalizations 9(5): 623-636.
- Ilcan, S. & R. Aitken 2011. “United Nations and Early Postwar Development: Assembling World Order.” In L. Tepperman and A. Kalyta (Eds.), Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.
- Ilcan, S. and L. Phillips 2010. “Developmentalities and Calculative Practices: The Millennium Development Goals.” Antipode. 42(4): 844-874.
- Ilcan, S. 2009 “Privatizing Responsibility: Public Sector Reform under Neoliberal Government.” Canadian Review of Sociology. 46(3): 207-234.
- Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey 2009. “Governing through Empowerment: Oxfam’s Global Reform and Trade Campaigns” in Barry K. Gills, Ed., Globalization and the Global Politics of Justice. London: Routledge. 113-132. Reprinted article originally published in 2006 in Globalizations 3(2): 207-225.
- Ilcan, S. and L. Phillips 2008. “Governing through Global Networks: Knowledge Mobilities and Participatory Development.” Current Sociology. 56(5): 711-734. Republished in Globalization and Politics, Ed., Paul James. London and New York: Sage publications. March 2014.
- Ilcan, S., M. Oliver, & D. O’Connor 2007. “Spaces of Governance: Gender and Public Sector Restructuring in Canada.” Gender, Place and Culture. 14(10): 75-92.
- Phillips, L. and S. Ilcan 2007. “Responsible Expertise: Governing the Uncertain Subjects of Biotechnology.” Critique of Anthropology. 27(1): 103-126.
- Ilcan, S. 2006. “Global Governing Organizations: Order-Building and Waste Management.” Current Sociology. 54(6): 851-872.
- Basok, T. and S. Ilcan 2006. “In the Name of Human Rights: Global Organizations and Participating Citizens.” Citizenship Studies. 10(3): 309-327.
- Ilcan, S. and L. Phillips 2006. “Governing Peace: Global Rationalities of Security and UNESCO’s Culture of Peace Campaign.” Anthropologica. 48(1): 59-71.
- Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey. 2006. “Governing through Empowerment: Oxfam’s Global Reform and Trade Campaigns.” Globalizations. 3(2): 207-225.
- Lacey, A. and S. Ilcan. 2006. “Volunteer Labour, Responsible Citizenship, and International NGOs.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 47(1): 35-53.
- 2021-2025. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Title: “Border Frictions: Shaping Transnational Relations via Migrant Journeys, Resettlement and Community Building in the Context of Syrian Displacement.” PI, with Secil Dagtas (CI, University of Waterloo). Amount: $150,369.00
- 2019-2021. The British Academy. Project Title: “Lost and found?: A digital archive of testimonies of migration, displacement, and resettlement.” CI, with Dr. Yasmine Shamma (PI, University of Reading) and Dr. Vicki Squire (CI, Warwick University).
- 2017-2018. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Connection Grant Program. Project Title: “Bordering Practices in Migration and Refugee Protection.” PI, with K. Rygiel and A. Thompson. ($41,800, with matching funds).
2016-2018. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Partnership Development Grant Program. Project Title: “A Socio-Cultural Mapping of Arab-Canadian Migration, Settlement, and Integration: Collaboration, Community, Co-Authorship.” Co-applicant, with J. Habib (PI) ($199,062).
- 2015-2019. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant Program. Project Title: "Humanitarian Aid, Citizenship Politics, and the Governance of Syrian Refugees in Turkey.” PI, with F. Baban and K. Rygiel. ($199,139).
- 2013-2014. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Connection Grants Program. Project Title: "Reclaiming Democracy and Social Justice: From the Arab Spring to Occupy to...". With Tanya Basok (PI) and Jeff Noonan. ($41,375)
- 2013-2015. Governing Displacement: Global Development Aid and Refugee Camps. Collaborative Research Awards, Centre for International Governance Innovation. PI, with M. Oliver. ($29,935)
- 2013-2015. Global Governance, Humanitarian Aid, and Refugee Activism. With K. Rygiel. Seed Grant, Balsillie School of International Affairs.
- 2013. Aid to Scholarly Publications Program. Grant in support of edited book by S. Ilcan, Mobilities, Knowledge, and Social Justice. ($12,000)
- 2007-2011. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program. Program Focus: Global Governance and Social Justice Studies. Principal & Sole Investigator. ($500,000)
- 2007-2011. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grants Program. PI, with A. Lacey. Project Title: The New Global Aid Regime. ($69,000)
- 2007-2009. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Major Collaborative Research Initiative (Development Grant). PI. Project Title: Mobility, Knowledge, and Social Justice. ($20,000)
- 2003-2006. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Title: Agencies of Globalization: UNESCO, Social Transformations, and the Role of Expert Knowledge. PI, with L. Phillips. ($80,958)
- 2002-2006. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Program. Principle and Sole Investigator. ($500,000)
- 2002-2005. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Title: Framing Food: The Food and Agricultural Organization in Neoliberal Times. With L. Phillips (PI). ($86,000)
- 2002-2003. Canadian Foundation for Innovation & Ontario Innovation Trust. Project Title: Social Justice and Globalization Data Archive. Principal and Sole Investigator. ($250,434).
- 2000-2004. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Title: Knowledge Based Economies and Public Service Work: The 'Virtual Organization' of Knowledge and Expertise. With R. Shields (PI), D. O'Connor, and E. Taborsky. ($390,000)
- 1999-2002. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Theme: The United Nations in Historical Perspective. With L. Phillips (PI). ($51,000)
- 1995-1998. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Project Title: Gender, Households, and Rural Transformation in Northwestern Turkey. Principal & Sole Investigator. ($39,489)