ISID Faculty

ISID Faculty (2024-2025)

Francesco Amodio

Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of Economics

Francesco Amodio earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona in 2015. He is an applied microeconomist with a strong interest in labor economics and its intersection with development and political economy. His research agenda revolves around market imperfections and their impact on the productivity and efficiency of organizations, focusing primarily on firms and labor markets in low-income countries.


Diana Allan

Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of Anthropology

Canada Research Chair in the Anthropology of Living Archives

Ph.D. Harvard University (2008)

Diana Allan is a scholar, archivist, and documentary filmmaker whose research explores the history and lived experience of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. She is the co-founder of the Nakba Archive, a grassroots testimonial initiative that has filmed refugee accounts of the 1948 destruction and displacement. Her 2014 ethnography Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile examined local material realities animating social and political life in Shatila camp. Her recent edited volume Voices of the Nakba: A Living History of Palestine presents the significance of refugee narratives for understanding the Nakba, its aftermath, and the history of colonialism and imperial state formation in the Middle East.

Allan’s ethnographic films Shatila, Beirut (2001), Still Life (2007), Terrace of the Sea (2009), and So Dear, So Lovely (2018) build on these thematic concerns in their attention to camp ecologies, the mnemonic processes and material environments of exile, and the aesthetic and non-discursive registers of refugee experience. Her current film project, Partition, deconstructs cultural memory, archival authority and colonial history, bringing together interwar footage from British and Israeli colonial archives with contemporary audio recorded in Palestinian camps in Lebanon.


Allan is co-lead of the Anthropology department’s Critical Media Lab and a member of Anthropology for the Ecozoic and Leadership for the Ecozoic. Her current multimodal project, Past Continuous, explores the ontology of camps as living archives. Other present research touches on Palestinian coastal life then and now, labor at sea, community-based food production and urban food gardens in Lebanon, and ongoing collaborations with activists, scholars, artists and community members to develop digital pedagogical platforms that engage the history and concerns of refugee communities today.


Representative publications:

Edited volume

2021 Voices of the Nakba: A Living History of Palestine. Pluto Press, London. (Winner of a 2021 English PEN Award).


2014 Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile. Stanford University Press. (Winner of the 2014 Palestine Book Award and the 2015 American Anthropological Association, Middle East Section Prize).

Special Journal Issue

2016 Special Issue, “Visual Revolutions in the Middle East,” Visual Anthropology 29, no. 3 (co-edited with Mark Westmoreland)

Journal Articles

2021 “Mothers Gather: The fractured temporalities of Palestinian Motherhood.” Special Issue: Palestinian Futures: anticipation, imagination, embodiments. Geografiska Annaler Vol. 103, No. 1: 367-379.

2020 “The Long Turning: A Palestinian Refugee in Belgium,” Cultural Anthropology 35, No. 2: 225–230 (colloquy series on “Theorizing (In)security in the Middle East”).

2018 “This is Not a Politics: Solidarity and Subterfuge in Palestinian Refugee Communities in Lebanon,” South Atlantic Quarterly 116, no. 1: 91–110.

2016 “Visual Revolutions in the Middle East” (editorial introduction, co-authored with Mark Westmoreland), Visual Anthropology 29, no. 3: 205–210.

2016 “Watching Photos in Shatila: Visualizing Politics in the 2011 March of Return,” Visual Anthropology 29, no. 3: 296–214.

2013 “Commemorative Economies and the Politics of Solidarity in Shatila Camp,” Humanity 4, no. 1: 133–147.

2012 “From Archive to Art Film: A Palestinian Aesthetics of Memory Reviewed,” Cairo Papers in Social Science 31, no. 3/4: 149–166.

2010 “The Mavi Marmara at the Frontlines of Web 2.0,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 40, no. 1: 1–15 (co- authored with Curtis Brown).

Book Chapters

2020 “At Sea: Maritime Palestine Displaced,” in Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge, eds. Sylvia Pasquetti and Romola Sanyal (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press), 99–116.

2018 “What Bodies Remember: Sensory Experience as Historical Counterpoint in the Nakba Archive,” in An Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba, eds. Nahla Abdo and Nur Masalha (London, UK: Zed Books), 66–86.

2016 “‘See and Remember’: The Golden Days of Said Otruk,” in The Philosophy of Documentary, ed. David LaRocca (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books-Rowman and Littlefield), 251–260.


Partition (in production), 16mm and video, black & white/colour.

So Dear, So Lovely (2018) 16 mm, black & white/colour, 24 minutes. Distributed by the Cinema Guild Brooklyn, NY.

Terrace of the Sea (2009), digital video, colour, 52 minutes. Distributed by the Cinema Guild, Brooklyn, NY.

Fire Under Ash (2009), digital video, colour, 27 mins. Produced at Film Studies Center, Harvard.

Still Life (2007) digital video, colour, 25minutes. Distributed by the Cinema Guild, Brooklyn, NY.

Manuel Balan

Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of Political Science

Manuel Balán is Associate Professor in Political Science and International Development Studies (ISID) at McGill University. He is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the 2019 McGill Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching. His research focuses on corruption, transparency and anticorruption policies, political competition, media and politics, scandals, and the rule of law. He is the author of Today’s Allies, Tomorrow’s Enemies? The Political Dynamics of Corruption Scandals in Latin America (Notre Dame University Press, Forthcoming), and co-editor of Legacies of the Left Turn in Latin America. The Promise of Inclusive Citizenship (Notre Dame University Press, 2020). His research has also appeared in journals such as Comparative Politics, the Journal of Politics in Latin America, the Latin American Research Review, Desarrollo Económico, Revista de la Sociedad Argentina de Análisis Político. He is currently the Acting Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development. He is also co-founder, member of the Executive Board, and former Director of RELAM (Réseau d’études latino-américaines de Montréal) and member of ERIGAL (Équipe de recherche interuniversitaire sur l’inclusion et la gouvernance en Amérique latine). Before coming to McGill, he received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Law Degree in Argentina, where he is originally from.

Head and shoulders photo of Jacob BlancJacob Blanc

Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of History

Born and raised in San Francisco, Jacob received his BA from the University of California-San Diego. After a year working in southern Chile—with a brief, career-altering trip to Brazil—he undertook a PhD in Latin American history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After completing his PhD in 2017, he worked at the University of Edinburgh, receiving tenure in 2022, before accepting the new job at McGill starting in 2023.  Jacob Blanc's research explores the overlap of human rights and social movements across 20th century Latin America, with a particular focus on Brazil.

His first book, Before the Flood: the Itaipu Dam the the Visibility of Rural Brazil (Duke University Press, 2019) traces the protest movements of farmers, peasants, and indigenous groups in Brazil who were displaced by the Itaipu hydroelectric dam in the 1970s and 1980s. At the nexus of global energy regimes, Cold War militarism, and grassroots social movements, the book’s central concept of visibility tethers the actions of displaced groups to the more endemic issues of repression, resistance, and representation in Latin America.

His second book (forthcoming with Duke University Press) uses the Prestes Column rebellion in the 1920s to chart a spatial history of development and nationalism in Brazil. Whereas the legend of the column—and all existing scholarship—has focused on the heroic details of the 15,000-mile rebel march across the country, he reinterprets its legacy through the symbolism of Brazil’s interior. The book is titled The Prestes Column: an Interior History of Modern Brazil.

A third book (also forthcoming, with the University of North Carolina Press) is a biography of a former political prisoner and exile. Searching for Memory: Aluízio Palmar and the Shadow of Dictatorship offers more than just a straightforward biography. By placing his nearly forty hours of interviews with Palmar in dialogue with the public speaking, writing, and advocacy that he has conducted since the late 1990s, he explores the methodological implications of using oral histories to study the legacies of authoritarian rule.


Megan Bradley

Director, ISID and Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of Political Science

Megan Bradley is associate professor of political science and international development studies at McGill University. Her research and teaching focus on refugees, human rights, humanitarianism, transitional justice, natural disasters, and gender. She is the author of Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility and Redress (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and The International Organization for Migration: Commitments, Challenges, Complexities (Routledge, 2020), editor of Forced Migration, Reconciliation and Justice (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), and co-editor (with James Milner and Blair Peruniak) of Refugees' Roles in Resolving Displacement and Building Peace: Beyond Beneficiaries (Georgetown University Press, 2019). Her research has also appeared in journals such as the Review of International Studies, Ethics and International Affairs, the International Journal of Transitional Justice, the Journal of Refugee Studies and the International Journal of Refugee Law. She serves as Associate Director of ISID, and Associate Director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies. She also coordinates the McGill Refugee Research Group.

Alongside her research and teaching, Professor Bradley has worked with a range of organizations concerned with humanitarianism, human rights and development. From 2012-2014, she was a Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, where she was part of the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement. She has also worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and served as the Cadieux-Léger Fellow in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


Yann le Polain de Waroux

Assistant Professor, Institute for the Study of International Development and Department of Geography, Faculty of Science

Yann le le Polain de Waroux has a doctorate from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and most recently held a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.  His research examines the role of people’s livelihood and land use choices as a nexus between social and environmental, and global and local dynamics in rural areas of the Global South. In particular, he is interested in the relationship between globalization, human and capital mobility and land-use change, and its implications for development and environmental sustainability; and in the role of learning and adaptation processes in strengthening the resilience of rural communities in the face of environmental change. He uses an empirical approach integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to explore these questions. His main areas of interest have been North Africa — specifically woodlands of Southern Morocco — and the Gran Chaco ecoregion of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. His current work investigates the transformation of land use around agricultural commodity frontiers, and the role of structural and agent-level factors in their expansion.

Visit Professor le Polain de Waroux's Land, Environment and Development Lab


Research Interests:

  • Studying the factors behind the expansion of commodity production in South American woodlands, with focus on the Gran Chaco region
  • Examining spillovers and displacement of land use
  • Investigating transformations of land use and livelihoods around agricultural frontiers

Recent Publications:

  • le Polain de Waroux, Y., Neumann, J., O’Driscoll, A., and Schreiber, K. (2021). "Pious Pioneers: The Expansion of Mennonite Colonies in Latin America". Journal of Land Use Science, December 15, 2020, 1–17.
  • le Polain de Waroux, Y. (2019). "Capital has no homeland: The formation of transnational producer cohorts in South America’s commodity frontiers". Geoforum 105: 131-144
  • le Polain de Waroux, Y., Baumann, M., Gasparri, N.I., Gavier-Pizarro, G., Godar, J., Kuemmerle, T., Müller, R., Vázquez, F., Volante, J.N. & Meyfroidt, P. (2018) "Rents, actors, and the expansion of commodity frontiers in the Gran Chaco". Annals of the Association of American Geographers 108(1):204-225.
  • le Polain de Waroux, Y., Garrett, R. D., Graesser, J., Nolte, C., White, C., & Lambin, E. F. (2019). "The restructuring of South American soy and beef production and trade under changing environmental regulations". World Development 121: 188–202.


Photo of Kazue Takamura in a cafeKazue Takamura

 Senior Faculty Lecturer, Institute for the Study of International Development

Kazue Takamura is Senior Faculty Lecturer at the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University. Her research focuses on Asian migration, gendered labor vulnerability, immigration detention, international migrant rights, and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia.

Trained as an ethnographer, Takamura has studied the lived experiences of low-skilled migrant women and of detained refugees and migrants. Her research in Japan has led to extensive collaboration with civil society organizations defending the rights of refugees and migrants. As an FRQSC Post-Doctoral Fellow, Takamura conducted research on Filipina live-in caregivers’ experience of family separation in Canada. For her dissertation, she spent two years in a town on the Thai-Malaysian border, documenting the everyday lives of Chinese-Malaysian traders.

Takamura has published in edited books, journals, and online magazines, and has also authored reports for civil society organizations. She has received grants and fellowships from the Toyota Foundation, FRQSC, and SSHRC. She currently holds, as principal investigator, a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, entitled “the Predicament of the Philippine Migrant Worker: An Analysis of Labor Sending Countries’ Responses to the Plight of Citizen Workers Abroad” (2023-2025).

Takamura has received three teaching awards at McGill University: the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2020; the Arts Undergraduate Society Teaching Excellence Award in 2018; and the IDS Most Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the International Development Studies Students Association in 2018. Fluent in Chinese, as well as a native speaker of Japanese, Takamura holds a Ph.D. from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

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