Associate Members


Oliver Coomes

Professor, Department of Geography. PhD, Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interests

  • Environment and Development in Latin America;
  • Peasant economy;
  • Cultural ecology;
  • Environmental conservation and economic development;
  • Traditional agriculture and rainforest extraction;
  • Peasant adaptation to environmental and economic change in Amazonia.

Selected Publications

  • Wood, S.L.R., J.M. Rhemtulla and O.T. Coomes. 2016. “Intensification of tropical fallow-based agriculture: Trading-off ecosystem services for economic gain in shifting cultivation landscapes?”, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 215: 47-56.
  • Thomas, M., Verzelen, N., Barbillon, P., Coomes, O.T., Caillon, S., McKey, D., Elias, M., Garine, E., Raimond, C., Dounias, E., Jarvis, D.I., Wencélius, J., Leclerc, C., Labeyrie, V., Pham, H.C., Hue, N.T.N, Sthapit, B., Rana, R.B., Barnaud, A., Violon, C., Arias Reyes, L.M., Moreno, L.L., De Santis, P., Massol. F. 2015. A network-based method to detect patterns of local crop biodiversity: validation at the species and infra-species levels. Advances in Ecological Research (in press).
  • Coomes, O.T., S.J. McGuire, E. Garine, S. Caillon, D. McKey, E. Demeulenaere, D. Jarvis, G. Aistara, A. Barnaud, P. Clouvel, L. Emperaire, S. Louafi, P. Martin, F. Massol, M. Pautasso, C. Violon, J. Jean Wencélius. 2015. “Farmer seed networks make a limited contribution to agriculture? Four common misconceptions”, Food Policy 56: 41-50
  • Webb, J., O.T. Coomes, N. Mainville and D. Mergler. 2015. “Mercury contamination of fish from rivers affected by oil extraction and deforestation in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon”, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology DOI 10.1007/s00128-015-1588-3
  • Abizaid, C., O.T. Coomes, Y. Takasaki and S. Brisson. 2015. “Social network analysis and peasant agriculture: cooperative labor as gendered relational networks”, The Professional Geographer 67(3): 447-463. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2015.1006562.
  • Miltner, B.C. and O.T. Coomes. 2015. “Indigenous innovation incorporates biochar into swidden-fallow agroforestry systems: Charcoal kiln site agriculture in the Peruvian Amazon”, Agroforestry Systems 89(3): 409-420. DOI 10.1007/s10457-014-9775-5.
  • Takasaki, Y., O.T. Coomes and C. Abizaid. 2014. “An efficient nonmarket institution under imperfect markets: labor sharing for tropical forest clearing”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 96(3): 711-732.
  • Pautasso, M., Aistara, G., Barnaud, A., Caillon, S., Clouvel, P., Coomes, O.T., Delêtre, M., Demeulenaere, E., De Santis, P., Döring, T., Eloy, L., Emperaire, L., Garine, E., Goldringer, I., Jarvis, D., Joly, H.I., Leclerc, C., Louafi, S., Martin, P., Massol, F., McGuire, S., McKey, D., Padoch, C., Soler, C., Thomas, M. and Tramontini, S. 2013 "Seed exchange networks in agrobiodiversity conservation: concepts, methods and challenges". Agronomy for Sustainable Development 33(1): 151-175.
  • Caillon, S. and O.T. Coomes. 2012. "Agriculture traditionnelle et fleurs coupées: un marriage réussi en Amazonie". Journal des Anthropologues 128-129 : 85-113.
  • Salonen, M., T. Toivonen, J-M Cohalan and O.T. Coomes. 2012. "Critical distances: comparing measures of spatial accessibility in the riverine landscapes of Peruvian Amazonia". Applied Geography 32: 501-513.
  • Coomes, O.T., Y. Takasaki, J. Rhemtulla 2011. “Land-use poverty traps identified in shifting cultivation systems shape long-term tropical forest cover” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (34): 13925-13930

Franque Grimard

Associate Professor, Department of Economics. PhD, Princeton

Research Interests

  • Economic Development;
  • Labor Markets;
  • Integration of Women in Labor Force;
  • Credit markets and Bank Failures;
  • Trade and Growth, Tax Reform;
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Pakistan, Peru;
  • Health Economics;
  • Smoking and Low Income Households in Canada;
  • Environment Economics;
  • Agroforestry Practices, Sustainable Agricultural Practices.


Catherine Lu

Professor, Department of Political Science

Catherine Lu is Professor of Political Science at McGill University, and Coordinator of the Research Group on Global Justice of the Yan P. Lin Centre. She was the Associate Director of ISID from 2016-2018. Her research and teaching interests intersect political theory and international relations, focusing on critical and normative studies of intervention in world politics; global justice; reconciliation; structural injustice; alienation; colonial international order; cosmopolitanism; and the world state. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of Justice and Reconciliation in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which won four international book awards, and Just and Unjust Interventions in World Politics: Public and Private (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). In 2018, she was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Sonia Laszlo

Associate Professor, Department of Economics

Professor Sonia Laszlo is Associate Professor of Economics. Her research expertise covers many aspects of applied microeconomic analysis in economic development. Specifically, she is currently working in two broad research areas: decision-making under uncertainty (namely concerning technology adoption among subsistence farmers) and the micro-economic effects of social policies and conditions (in the area of education, health and labour markets), with a focus on women. Prof. Laszlo has conducted her research in Peru, Kenya and in the Caribbean, using laboratory experiments, surveys or randomized controlled trials. She is also a member of the Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche en Organizations (CIRANO) and the Grupo de Analysis para el Desarrollo (GRADE). In 2005 she co‐founded and has since been an executive member of the Canadian Development Economics Study Group (CDESG), which groups both academic and policy development economists in Canada

Paola Perez Aleman

Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management. PhD, MIT

Research Interests

  • Economic organization and emerging governance in developing economies, particularly in Latin America;
  • Institutional innovations in the private and public sectors, particularly how governments, firms and associations reshape themselves and their interactions to facilitate learning, adjustment and economic development;
  • Relationships between large and small firms (multinational and local) in production networks, and the process of upgrading the capabilities of producers in developing countries to meet international productivity and quality standards.

Selected publications

  • Perez-Aleman, P. "Regulation in the Process of Building Capabilities: Strengthening Competitiveness while Improving Food Safety and Environmental Sustainability in Nicaragua," Politics & Society, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2013, pp. 589-620.
  • Perez-Aleman, P. “Global Standards and Local Knowledge Building: Upgrading Small Producers in Developing Countries,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Vol. 109, No. 31, 2012, pp. 12344-12349.
  • Perez-Aleman, P., “Collective Learning in Global Diffusion: Spreading Quality Standards in a Developing Country Cluster,” Organization Science, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2011, pp. 173-189.
  • Perez-Aleman, P. and Sandilands, M., “Building Value at the Top and the Bottom of the Global Supply Chain: MNC-NGO Partnerships,” California Management Review, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2008, pp. 24-49.
  • Perez-Aleman, P., “Cluster Formation, Institutions and Learning: Emergence of Clusters and Development in Chile,” Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2005, pp. 651-677.
  • Perez-Aleman, P., “A Learning-Centered View of Business Associations: Building Business- Government Relations for Development,” Business and Politics, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2003, pp. 195-215.
  • Perez-Aleman, P., “Decentralized Production Organization and Institutional Transformations: Large and Small Firm Networks in Chile and Nicaragua,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2003, pp. 789-805.
  • Perez-Aleman, P., “Learning, Adjustment and Economic Development: Transforming Firms, the State and Associations in Chile,” World Development, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2000, pp. 41-55.

Jon Unruh

 Associate Professor, Department of Geography. PhD, University of Arizona

Research Interests

  • Recovery of war-affected societies;
  • Land rights, armed conflict and development;
  • Human adaptation to environmental change;
  • Development dilemmas in Africa;
  • Housing, land and property restitution in the Middle East;
  • Large-scale land acquisitions in the developing world.

Selected publications

  • Unruh JD (2016) Structuring land restitution remedies for peace and stability in fragile states. CAB Reviews 11: 1-9
  • Unruh JD (2016) Mass Claims in Land and Property Following the Arab Spring: Lessons from Yemen. Stability: International Journal of Security & Development 5 (1) 1-19, DOI:
  • Unruh JD (2016) Weaponization of the Land and Property Rights System in the Syrian Civil War: Facilitating Restitution? Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. 10: 435-471
  • Unruh JD (2015) The structure and function of keywords in the development of civil wars: opportunities for peace building? Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 21(4) 621-633.
  • Unruh JD (2015) Multi-sector capacity needs in challenging the resource curse in conflict-affected countries. International Journal of Peace Studies 19 (1) 1-19.
  • Unruh JD and Abdul-Jalil MA (2014) Constituencies of conflict and opportunity: land rights, narratives and collective action in Darfur. Political Geography 42:104-115
  • Unruh JD (2014) Pre-emptive and advanced techniques for war-torn land and property rights reacquisition. Land Use Policy 38: 111-122.
  • Corriveau-Bourque A, Nelson I, Pritchard M, Stanfield D, Unruh J (2013) Impacts of forest related large-scale land acquisitions in the Indian Ocean World. Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 9 (2) 208–226.
  • Abdul-Jalil MA and Unruh JD (2013) Land rights under stress in Darfur: A volatile dynamic of the conflict. War and Society 32(2) 156-181
  • Unruh JD (2012) Land and legality in the Darfur conflict. African Security 5:105-128
  • Unruh JD and Shalaby M (2012) A volatile interaction between peacebuilding priorities: road infrastructure (re)construction and land rights in Afghanistan. Progress in Development Studies 12: 47-61.
  • Unruh JD (2012) Eviction policy in postwar Angola. Land Use Policy, 29:661-663.
  • Unruh JD (2012) The interaction between landmine clearance and land rights in Angola: a volatile outcome of non-integrated peacebuilding. Habitat International: A Journal for the Study of Human Settlements, 36:117-125
  • Unruh JD (2010) Tree-based carbon storage in developing countries: neglect of the social sciences. Society and Natural Resources. 24 (2): 185-192.
  • Brottem L, Unruh J (2009) Territorial tensions: rainforest conservation, post-conflict recovery and land tenure. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99: 995-1002.
  • Unruh JD (2009) Land rights in postwar Liberia: the volatile part of the peace process. Land Use Policy 26: 425-433.
  • Unruh JD (2008) Land policy reform, customary rule of law and the peace process in Sierra Leone. African Journal of Legal Studies 2: 94-117.
  • Unruh JD (2008) Carbon sequestration in Africa: the land tenure problem. Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 18: 700-707.
  • Unruh JD (2007) Urbanization in the developing world and the acutely tenure insecure. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action. 11: 115-120.


Hugo Melgar-Quinonez

 Content to come

Poulami Roychowdhury

Assistant Professor, Sociology. Ph.D., New York University

Professor Roychowdhury’s research examines the relationship between politics, law, and social inequality. Her forthcoming book, Capable Citizens (Oxford University Press), shows how political mobilization against gender-based violence has transformed ordinary women's interactions with the Indian criminal justice system. Other projects include: masculinity and labor organizing, and media coverage of sexual violence. She is currently working on two new projects. The first examines the evolution and resolution of complaints related to discrimination and harassment on university campuses in the United States. The second analyzes the dramatic fall of women's employment in India. Her research has been supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American Institute for Indian Studies.




Juan Wang

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science. PhD, Johns Hopkins

Juan Wang is an associate professor of political science at McGill. Her research interests are state-building at the grassroots level in China. She has primarily focused on the formation, changes, and operations of local governments, religious institutions, and coercive and legal apparatus. Her research relies on qualitative methods to explore the reality, nuance, and meaning of politics in contemporary China. Her first book, The Sinews of State Power: The Rise and Demise of the Cohesive Local State in Rural China (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) traces the changes and continuity of intergovernmental relations at the grassroots level to explain the varying causes of and persistent peasant protests in China.


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