Sonia Cancian Poster

The Power of Life Stories : Situating the Narratives of Migrants and Refugees within the Context of the Law

Conference by Sonia Cancian
27 mars 2017

The Oppenheimer Chair and the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism are pleased to welcome Dr. Sonia Cancian, from Zayed University for a seminar on life stories of migrants and refugees and the law.

This seminar will lead a discussion on life stories of migrants and refugees and their power (or not) within the world of policy-making and the law.

“Life stories and the law are intrinsically connected. We witness this daily both on a micro- and macro-scale, whether at a client’s meeting with her/his lawyer, in the courtroom, in the creation of binding precedents, in the diffusion of social and legal awareness, and among countless other contexts, in the introduction and implementation of policies and laws. As we consider the recent immigration crisis culminating as I write, what becomes especially evident is that the narratives of migrants and refugees—much like their counter-narratives–shape, and are shaped by, social and political awareness and the creation of policy and laws. What kinds of stories of refugees and migrants are we talking about here ? How do they influence the individual and the broader communities, and vice versa ? In what ways do the stories give insight to the shaping of policies and laws ?  And, how do policies influence the lives of migrants and refugees today and in the past ?”

Where : Room 312, New Chancellor Day Hall, Faculty of Law
When : March 29, 2017 from 1 to 2:30 pm


Sonia CancianDr. Sonia Cancian is a historian with an interest in letters and other personal narratives developed in contexts of migration. In her work, she examines migration and mobility  through the lens of women and gender studies, history of the family,  history of emotions, and the social history of Canada and Italy. She is the author of numerous publications including her first book, Families, Lovers, and their Letters : Italian Postwar Migration to Canada (2010). Her new research focuses on the lives of migrant and refugee war orphans in Italy and South Africa, 1945-2015.

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