Suzan Ilcan is professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research covers a range of themes at the interface of global governance, humanitarian and development aid, and migration studies, including the politics of tourism and development, poverty and social policy, humanitarian aid and refugee camps, and social justice and citizenship rights.

She is the co-author of Governing the Poor: Exercises of Poverty Reduction, Practices of Global Aid (with Anita Lacey, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2011) and Issues in Social Justice: Citizenship and Transnational Struggles (with Tanya Basok, Oxford University Press, 2013), and author of Longing in Belonging: The Cultural Politics of Settlement (Praeger, 2002). She is the editor of Mobilities, Knowledge, and Social Justice (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013). Suzan is co-editor of the journal Studies in Social Justice and serves as a consulting editor of the Canadian Review of Sociology and an editorial board member of the Journal of Namibian Studies and the journal Globalizations. She is an adjunct scholar at McMaster University’s Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition and York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies. She received her Ph.D. from Carleton University, her M.A. from Dalhousie University and her B.A. from St. Mary’s University.

Suzan’s current research projects include: a study on the postwar management of vulnerable populations in Europe through work, travel and migration controls involving international aid organizations and other governmental actors; collaborative work on contemporary states of emergency and humanitarian aid, with a focus on issues of governance, citizenship and refugee activism in refugee camps; and a critical development studies project on the post-2015 development agenda, with an emphasis on issues of trade, migration and social policy. 

Suzan's academic and professional awards include: 2014 Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo; Canada Research Chair, 2007–2011; and Canada Research Chair, 2002–2006.


Select Publications

  1. Ilcan, S 2014 Activist Citizenship and the Politics of Mobility in Osire Refugee Camp. In Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies edited by Engin Isin and Peter Nyers London: Routledge
  2. O'Connor, D., K. Brisson-Boivin and S. Ilcan 2014 Governing Failure: Development, Aid, and Audit in Haiti. Conflict Security and Development 14 (3): 309–30
  3. Lacey, A. and S. Ilcan 2014 Tourism for Development and the New Global Aid Regime. Global Social Policy
  4. Ilcan, S 2013 Paradoxes of Humanitarian Aid: Mobile Populations, Biopolitical Knowledge, and Acts of Social Justice in Osire Refugee Camp. In Mobilities Knowledge and Social Justice edited by S Ilcan Montreal and London: McGill-Queen's University Press
  5. Basok, T., and S. Ilcan 2013 Issues in Social Justice Citizenship and Transnational Struggles Toronto: Oxford University Press
  6. Ilcan, S. and R. Aitken 2012 Postwar World Order, Displaced Persons, and Biopolitical Management. Globalizations 9 (5): 623–36
  7. 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
  8. Ilcan, S. and R. Aitken 2011 United Nations and Early Postwar Development: Assembling World Order. In Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives edited by L Tepperman and A Kalyta Toronto: Oxford University Press
  9. Ilcan, S. and L. Phillips 2010 Developmentalities and Calculative Practices: The Millennium Development Goals. Antipode 42 (4): 844–74
  10. Ilcan, S 2009 Privatizing Responsibility: Public Sector Reform under Neoliberal Government. Canadian Review of Sociology 46 (3): 207–34
  11. Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey 2009 Governing through Empowerment: Oxfam's Global Reform and Trade Campaigns. In Globalization and the Global Politics of Justice edited by Barry K Gills 113–32 London: Routledge

In the News