Kalyani Thurairajah

Assistant Professor, Sociology
Discipline and Honours Advisor, Sociology


PhD (McGill)

6-390, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah is interested in studying the political identities and national loyalties of second generation immigrants. She is currently working on a comparative analysis of how diasporic communities in Toronto, London and Frankfurt negotiate their dual identities and allegiances. Her work focuses on immigrant integration, diaspora-homeland relations and suspect minorities.

Dr. Thurairajah is also interested in the relationship between multiculturalism and racism in Canada, and how this relationship shapes the national identity. She is also working on a study that explores how Canadians are taught about ethnic and racial relations in a historical context, and how this shapes their current understanding of political and ethnic tensions in the country.

Dr. Thurairajah is also the Discipline and Honours Advisor for the Sociology Department, and she encourages students to make an appointment with her to discuss how to most effectively map out their Sociology degrees.

Available to supervise senior students' independent study.

Immigration, multiculturalism, diaspora, suspect minorities, Sri Lankan Tamil, ethnic identities

Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah teaches in a number of areas in the Sociology department, including: Race and Ethnic Relations in Canada (SOCI 368), Qualitative Research Methods (SOCI 418), and Introductory Sociology (SOCI 100). She has also taught special topics seminars (SOCI 402), including "Representation of Diversity on Television", and "Racialization of Migration, Borders, and Citizenship." In the Fall 2017 semester, Dr. Thurairajah will be teaching "Media and Society" (SOCI 237), a course that is being newly offered by the Sociology Department.

Dr. Thurairajah's courses all focus on ensuring that students have the opportunity to practice sociology by applying concepts in discussion and exercises. She encourages her students to challenge themselves by considering situations through multiple perspectives.

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Thurairajah, K. (2017). The case of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora and homeland: A shared ethnic identity. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 17 (1), 115-132.

Thurairajah, K. (2017). The jagged edges of multiculturalism in Canada and the suspect Canadian. Journal of Multicultural Discourse, 12 (2), 134-148.

Thurairajah, K. (June 2016). Multicultural politics: Shutting the national door on gobal citizenship. Paper presented at BSA Citizenship Study Group and the European Consortium Research Standing Group on Citizenship Conference: Political Citizenship and Social Movements. University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK.

Thurairajah, K. (April 2015). The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora and the homeland: Can there be a shared ethnic Identity? Paper presented at the 20th Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities. Columbia University, New York, USA.

Thurairajah, K. (2015). Canadians under suspicion: Sri Lankan Tamil diasporic community as a suspect minority group. In L. Wong & S. Guo (Eds.), Revisiting multiculturalism in Canada: Theories, policies and debates (pp. 171-188). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • Project Grant, MacEwan University (2015–2017)
  • Dissemination Grant, MacEwan University (2015)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student, Canadian Sociological Association, (2014
  • Margaret and Wallace McCain Postdoctoral Fellowship, Mount Allison University (2013–2014)
  • Faculty of Arts Graduate Teaching Award, McGill University (2013)
  • Charles Bronfman and Alex Paterson Top-Up Fellowship, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (2011–2013)
  • Arts Dissemination Writing Award, McGill University (2012-2013) 
  • Oswald  Hall Dissertation Fellowship in Sociology, McGill University (2011–2012)
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2010-2012)

Professional Associations / Memberships

  • American Sociological Association
  • Canadian Sociological Association
  • American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy