Laura MacDonald

Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University

Laura Macdonald is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. She has been researching and writing about Latin America and global political economy since 1983. She has published numerous articles in journals and edited collections on such issues as the role of non-governmental organizations in development, global civil society, citizenship struggles in Latin America, Canadian development assistance and the political impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She has edited four books: The Politics of Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, Cambridge University Press (with Tina Hilgers, forthcoming); North American in Question: Regional Integration in an Era of Economic Turbulence, University of Toronto Press, 2012 (with Jeffrey Ayres); Contentious Politics in North America, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 (with Jeffrey Ayres); and Post-Neoliberalism in the Americas: Beyond the Washington Consensus?, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 (with Arne Ruckert). She is co-author of Women, Democracy, and Globalization in North America: A Comparative Study.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2006 (with Jane Bayes, Patricia Begne, Laura Gonzalez, Lois Harder, and Mary Hawkesworth), and author of Supporting Civil Society:  The Political Impact of NGO Assistance to Central America, Basingstoke, UK and New York City: Macmillan Press and St. Martin’s Press, 1997. She has been Principal Investigator on four SSHRC research grants: “From Minor Player to Major Actor: Canada’s Role in Latin America,” 2012-2017 (Insight Grant, $379,834); “Social Citizenship in North America,” 2006-2009 (Standard Research Grant $89,000) and “Borders and Bodies:  Canadian and U.S. Immigration and Border Control Policies in the New North America” 2003-2006 (Standard Research Grant, $66,000), and 1993-98, “Economic integration, human rights and civil society:  transnational responses to NAFTA” (Standard Research Grant, $35,000).

Macdonald is also a regular media commentator on issues related to Latin American and North American political economy, and is a member of the McLeod Group (, a group of academics and development professionals working to advance Canadian policy and action in international cooperation and foreign affairs.


Country(ies) or Region(s) of Specialization: Mexico

Keywords: NGOs and development, citizenship, NAFTA