Laura Madokoro's research explores various facets of the history of refugees and humanitarianism. She is especially interested in questions relating to settler colonialism, human rights and race. Her SSHRC-funded research explores the history of sanctuary in Canada from the 17th century to the present, with a focus on post-Confederation sanctuary practices among a variety of religious and secular communities. As a result of this initial project, she is now at work on a history of sanctuary in urban contexts and is exploring the nature of sanctuary practices amongst different Indigenous communities. Additionally, in early 2021, she received an Early Researcher Award to begin work on The Disaster Lab, which will explore the history of disasters, humanitarianism and migration in Canada.
Dr. Madokoro is the author of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War (Harvard University Press, 2016), which documents the experience of Chinese refugees during the cold war and the politics of exclusion and humanitarianism among the white settler societies of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Elusive Refuge was recognized with the Association of Asian American Studies’ Best Book in the Social Sciences for 2018, the Chinese Canadian Historical Society’s Ed Wickberg Prize and the 2016 Mershon Center Furniss Book Award.