Students and Alumni

Yael Machtinger

Yael Machtinger close upYael’s Doctoral Dissertation focuses on law and religion, exploring Jewish divorce (get) refusal in Toronto and New York. Using both interviews and archival sources, she hopes to contribute to women’s historiography of marriage as well as examining the overlapping legal norms of Jewish and civil laws relying on socio-legal literatures dealing with religion, identity and culture, as well as gender and storytelling. Applying social theory, religious feminism and legal pluralism, her dissertation examines women’s narratives of being “chained” to a marriage. The research has been funded by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and more recently, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and the Religion and Diversity Project Fellowship.

Yael has worked as a Research Assistant on Modern Slavery and Forced Marriage projects with Annie Bunting and as a Teaching Assistant in the Law and Society Program, having recently won the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Yael sat on the Socio-Legal Studies Admissions Committee, Hearing Committees for Graduate Studies Appeals and Academic Honesty, Tenure Track Hiring Committee in the Law and Society Program, and most recently, on the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Committee on Teaching and Learning for a double term. She has also served as Treasurer of the Socio-Legal Studies Graduate Student’s Association and as a member of the Canadian Law and Society Association. Yael has presented papers at numerous academic conferences and panels internationally; at New York University School of Law, Columbia Law School, Brandeis University, and Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, in Israel. As well, Yael’s chapter, “Socio-Legal Gendered Remedies Get Refusal: ‘Top Down, Bottom Up” in Women’s Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives, was published in 2016 by Routledge Press.

Melissa Anderson

photo of Melissa AndersonMelissa Anderson is a first year PhD student in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. She holds a Joint-MA in Communications and Culture from York and Ryerson Universities, a BA in Social Development Studies and a post-BA in Social Work (University of Waterloo). Her research interests span transnational human rights, illegalized migration, sanctuary cities, urban politics, and intergovernmental jurisdiction. Her current research investigates a Canada-Germany comparison on the application of human rights to non-status migrants. Melissa is a past recipient of SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship (2015-2016), and a current recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018).

Palmer Taylor

As a PhD student in the Socio-Legal Studies program, his research explores how surveillance contractors obtain competitive corporate and state financial records, and the extent to which this information influences financial investments. His research will help define how state intelligence agencies are merging with the corporate sector to produce human electronic communication for market intelligence purposes. His PhD research is based on his MA Criminology thesis, “Endarkened Governance: A Genealogical Analysis of the Pentagon Papers and The Global Intelligence Files.” Palmer can be reached at

Mariful Alam

Mariful AlamHis research interests focus on critical theories of law and state violence, political policing and surveillance, and social movement mobilization. His PhD dissertation investigates the relationship between legal regimes, state surveillance, and political dissent through and empirical focus on the rationalizations, operations and effects of undercover police infiltration of social-justice, environmentalist, and indigenous-rights organizations in Canada. More specifically, this study is an empirically-grounded exploration of how juridical knowledge both enable and inhibit discrete surveillance practices and the role of legal discourses in the construction of 'dangerous/criminal' protestor within the context of on the ground surveillance operations and in courtroom proceedings. Alongside graduate studies and various activist work, he is a musician and practices Muay Thai kickboxing

Emily Lockhart

BiopicEmily Lockhart is a PhD candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. Her research interests include teenage sexual agency, citizenship, and teenage legal consciousness. Her doctoral work focuses on the impact of social, political, and legal responses to the Rehtaeh Parsons case on the way Nova Scotian teenagers understand sexual violence

Ali Malik

Ali MalikS. Ali Malik is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in Socio-legal Studies at York University. He earned his MA in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo and participates in the Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School. Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological influences in critical legal theory and social theory, his doctoral research focuses on the intersections of the law and politics of food and agricultural governance in South Asia and global social justice.

Harini Sivalingam

Harini Sivalingam is a PhD candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at York. Her PhD dissertation will focus on the public, legal, and political discourses surrounding the arrival of asylum seekers to Canada by boats. She obtained her LL.B. at Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006. Harini completed her LL.M. in International Comparative Law at McGill University. Her Master's thesis explored the discourses of fear and victimization in the national security context and how these discourses impact on community groups. She has a diverse set of interests including immigration and refugee law, international and domestic human rights,  and national security law

Katrin Roots

katrootsKatrin Roots is a PhD candidate at York University. Her research interests are in
international human rights, international law in domestic courts, and Canadian courts. Her dissertation explores the issues of human trafficking in a Canadian context, and focuses on the way in which Canada's anti-trafficking mandates and policies are put into practice, and given meaning, by criminal justice actors.

Daniel Huizenga

profile picHis research focuses on customary law and Indigenous rights in South Africa. He considers how Indigenous people and their advocates use community-based research to contribute to law and policy reform and affirm their rights to land and natural resources. He draws from disciplinary fields of anthropology and geography and use theories of property, legal pluralism, territory, neoliberalism, postcolonial archives, and law and materiality in his work. He is a recipient of Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctorate).