Isabel MacDonald

PhD Candidate, Communication Studies

Research interests

  • Comics journalism
  • Immigration
  • Humanitarian governance

Isabel’s SSHRC-funded doctoral work seeks to assess the opportunities and challenges of an emergent visual form of humanitarian reportage known as “comics journalism”, in light of the problems scholars have long theorized in more standard visual media representations of people affected by humanitarian crises. As part of her research for her thesis, Picturing life in a camp, she is producing and illustrating an experimental “comics journalism” project drawing on interviews with people displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Over the course of the fieldwork she conducted for this project, in a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Port-au-Prince, she has become increasingly interested in how agencies appointed to manage populations living in such highly precarious conditions conceive of risk, as well as in the question of what kinds of risk they seek to manage. Her current research is also concerned with the question of how data on migrant populations such as those categorized as IDPs is collected and mobilized in systems of humanitarian governance as well as in media discourses.

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