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John Carlaw

Research Fellow
EducationPhD, York University
Areas of ExpertiseCanadian politics; citizenship, immigration and refugee policy; international relations; multiculturalism; neoconservatism; political economy

John Carlaw’s research examines continuity and change in the politics of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism.  He seeks to identify and comparatively analyze the evolving and competing political-economic projects and narratives that play an important part in framing and shaping Canada’s (im)migration present and future.

Amongst John’s current projects are CONTESTATIONS of Migration and Belonging in Canada amidst COVID-19 (see our narratives and politics of migration research theme), and a book manuscript entitled Neoconservative Multiculturalism: The Conservative Party of Canada and the Politics of Citizenship, Migration and Multiculturalism in Settler Colonial Canada.

From 2015 to 2019, John served as Project Lead of York University's Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, a refugee sponsorship and education initiative at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.  There he worked in close collaboration with our university’s Lifeline Syria Challenge and civil society actors to organize events, solidarity initiatives, workshops and conferences with youth and NGO collaborators, including Amnesty International Canada, the FCJ Refugee Centre, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and Toronto Refugee Rights Month Planning Committee.

John turned to migration and refugee studies after several years of studying, working and engaging in solidarity and education efforts in the areas of democracy, human rights and political economy in Latin America, including working with the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS) and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University. He is affiliated with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, Global Labour Research Centre, and Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

He has taught in the Social Science and Glendon College Political Science Departments at York University, as well as the Department of Politics at Trent University. John organized and leads CERC’s mentorship program for our stipend students and has delivered guest lectures in the Policy Studies PhD program.

Recent Publications

(2022) Blunt talk or faux outrage? The politics of expanding migrant worker programs under Canada’s former Conservative government (2006–2015)., external link Studies in Political Economy, 102(3), 331-353.

(2021) PDF fileMulticulturalism and its Adjectives: Situating Neoconservative Multiculturalism, external link, opens in new window (pp. 34-41) and /PDF fileLe multiculturalisme et ses adjectifs: Situer le multiculturalisme néoconservateur, external link, opens in new window (pp. 42-46), contribution to special issue of Canadian Diversity/Diversité Canadienne on the theme of Multiculturalism @50: Promoting Inclusion and Eliminating Racism, Vol 18, No. 1. December.

(2021/1) PDF fileUnity in Diversity? Neoconservative Multiculturalism and the Conservative Party of Canada.

(2020) Throne speech offers little systemic change for migrant workers, refugees, external linkThe Conversation. 

(2018) Authoritarian Populism and Canada’s Conservative Decade (2006–2015) in Citizenship and Immigration: The Politics and Practices of Kenneyism and Neo-Conservative Multiculturalism, external linkJournal of Canadian Studies  51:3 782–816. 

(2015) PDF file A Party for New Canadians? The Rhetoric and Reality of Neoconservative Citizenship and Immigration Policy, external link, In T. Healy & S. Trew. (Eds.). In The Harper Record 2008-2015, Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 105-28.

Refugee Advocacy and Sponsorship

(2015-2019). York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (Website)., external link

PDF file2019 (July). York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative Final Report., external link

2018 (June 6). Youth Action Gathering of the Canadian Council for Refugees Network (Mentor to local youth hosting the event)., external link

PDF file2017. Next Steps and Reflections from Refugee Sponsors and Resettlement Professionals., external link

2017 (January 28). From Adversity to Action: A Day of Civic Engagement & Leadership Training for Newcomer Youth (Mentor to local youth organizing event)., external link