Sociology Speaker Series

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm EDT
Event Location: 
ATAC 3006
Event Contact Name: 
Dr. C. Sanders
Event Contact E-mail: 

Particular Bodies, Particular Policies: Immigration Health Work, People with Chronic Illness, Disability and Genetic Otherness

If the late Stephen Hawking had wanted to settle in Canada, he would likely have been denied. This is because he was disabled. Federal immigration law is designed to exclude people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic difference from permanently settling on health grounds, referred to as medical inadmissibility, with some exceptions. I explore and critique the immigration system based on an ethnography of the medical, legal, and administrative practices governing this bureaucracy published as Screening Out: HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience. Using findings from people toward whom exclusionary health policy is directed, I argue that immigration medical practices trigger ethical, practical, and professional problems for migrant persons and for the doctors, lawyers, and other practitioners inside and outside Canada whose livelihoods tether them to the immigration program. I provide a series of do-able strategies for legal reform. 

Laura Bisaillon

Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Laura Bisaillon is a sociologist. Her career is dedicated to social research, services, care and activism. She asks questions about the social organization of knowledge related to migration, minoritization, the body and the state. She is author of the book Screening Out(University of British Columbia Press, 2022). She publishes in formats such as podcast, film, vodcast, photo exhibit, website, and scholarly blog. Her scholarship has been supported by the Brocher Foundation (Geneva), the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Amsterdam), and a Visiting Professorship at the University of Bucharest (Romania). She is fluently bilingual in English and French.

Wednesday, March 15th

2:00-3:30pm in ATAC 3006

Guests may also attend via ZOOM:

Meeting ID: 990 8582 0576       Passcode: 517377

Everyone Welcome