Dagmar Soennecken, a professor at York University, wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

136 McLaughlin College
T 416.736.2100 ext 33408

Dagmar Soennecken

B.A. (Hons.) (Carleton), M.A., Ph.D. (University of Toronto)


Associate Professor, School of Public Policy AND Administration (SPPA) &
Law & Society Program (Department of Social Science)

Editor-in-chief / Rédactrice-en-chef Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees

Video profile, Google Scholar, • @DSoennecken

LinkedIn, Academia.edu

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Profile


Dagmar Soennecken is cross-appointed between the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) and the Law and Society Program (Department of Social Science). From 2016 to 2020, she served as the academic director of the Master in Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program. In 2019, she became the Editor-in-chief of Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, one of the oldest academic, peer-reviewed journals on forced migration.


Dagmar holds a BA (Hons.) in Political Science and Law from Carleton University, an MA in Political Science (with a concentration in Women’s Studies) and a Ph.D. (2009) from the University of Toronto. She has twice been a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for European and International Aliens and Asylum Law at the University of Konstanz, Germany. For the 2006/07 academic year, she was a Visiting Study Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). In the summer of 2013 and 2015, she held the Canadian Guest Professorship at the University of Kiel, Germany. She has been a recurring visiting scholar at the Migration and Integration Studies Centre (IMIS) and at the Jean Monnet Centre for Excellence (JMCE) in European Studies at the University of Osnabrück, Germany.


Dagmar’s research focuses on comparative public policy in the EU and North America. She is particularly interested in questions concerning law and the courts as well as citizenship and migration. Before entering the PhD program at the University of Toronto, Dagmar participated in the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP) at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Prior to moving to Canada in 1992, Dagmar worked for a German public health insurance body (AOK Düsseldorf). In 2011-12, Dagmar was nominated for 2 teaching awards: The Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Award and the Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excellence.

Research Interests

Politics and Government, Policy, Immigration, Comparative law and politics, law and society, Migration (esp. refugees) and citizenship, national security, gender, social movements, Indigenous peoples.

Current major Research projects


“Civil Society and the Global Refugee Regime: The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network,” (LERRN) SSHRC partnership grant, PI: James Milner (Carleton), co-investigator; 2018 -20205, @Lerrning

“Vulnerabilities under the Global Protection Regime,” (VULNER) Horizon 20/20 projected, co-funded by SSHRC/ grant, PI: L Leboeuf, (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany); Canadian lead: D. Nackache (Law, UofO), 2020 – 2023, @VULNERproject

Principal Publications

L. Conant, A. Hofman, D. Soennecken and L. Vanhala, “Patrolling the boundaries of belonging? Courts, law and citizenship,” in Research Handbook on Law and Courts, eds. S. M. Sterett and L. D. Walker (Elgar, 2019) https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788113205.00034


C.G. Anderson and D. Soennecken, "Taking the Harper Government’s Refugee Policy to Court," in Policy Change, Courts, and the Canadian Constitution, ed. Emmett Macfarlane, UofT Press, 2018. https://utorontopress.com/ca/policy-change-courts-and-the-canadian-constitution-2


L.Conant, A. Hofmann, D. Soennecken and L. Vanhala, “Mobilizing European Law,“ Journal of European Public Policy (Vol. 25, 2018, issue 9) https://doi.org/10.1080/13501763.2017.1329846


D. Soennecken, The Paradox of Docket Control: Empowering Judges, Frustrating Refugees, Law & Policy, vol. 38 no. 4 (October 2016) 304-327. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lapo.12062


D. Soennecken, “Shifting Back and Up: The European Turn in Canadian Refugee Policy,” Comparative Migration Studies vol. 2 no. 1 (2014) 102-122. http://dx.doi.org/10.5117/CMS2014.1.SOEN


D. Soennecken, “Germany and the Janus Face of Immigration Federalism: Devolution vs. Centralization,” in Sasha Baglay, Delphine Nakache (eds.), Immigration Regulation in Federal States: Challenges and Responses in Comparative Perspective, New York/Heidelberg, Springer, March 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8604-1_8


D. Soennecken, “The Managerialization of Refugee Determinations in Canada,” Droit et Société, no. 84 (2013/2), 297-311. https://doi.org/10.3917/drs.084.0291


D. Soennecken, “Extending Hospitality? History, Courts and the Executive,” in Studies in Law, Politics and Society, ed. Austin Sarat (special issue: Who belongs? Immigration, Citizenship and the Constitution of Legality), Vol. 60 (2013) 85-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S1059-4337(2013)0000060008


D. Soennecken, “The Growing Influence of the Courts over the Fate of Refugees.” Review of European and Russian Affairs. Vol. 4, Issue 2/ 2008. 10-43. https://ojs.library.carleton.ca/index.php/rera/article/view/199


D. Soennecken, “National Report: Canada.” In Kay Hailbronner (ed.), Study of the Asylum Single Procedure (“One-Stop-Shop”) Against the Background of the Common European Asylum System and the Goal of a Common Asylum Procedure. Study carried out on behalf of the European Commission (Directorate General for Justice and Home Affairs), 2002.

Selected Presentations and Talks

Children & Youth Care (CYC) Podcast (Feb 8, 2017): “A conversation about refugees with
Dr. Dagmar Soennecken," https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-sxmnt-677abb#.WJyYdBVS1FQ.gmail 

Learning from Others and its Limits: Migration Management and Integration Policy in an International Comparison, international conference; organizer: Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), Canadian expert, refugee & asylum panel; Hannover, Nov 24-25, 2016.

“CAU Internationalisierung Live! Einwanderungsland Kanada – Ein Model für Deutschland?“ [“CAU Internationalization Live! Immigration country Canada – a model for Germany?” delivered in German], public lecture as part of the University of Kiel’s outreach program, titled “kieleruni live,” during the 2015 Kiel Week (largest sailing festival in the world), June 27.

“Canadian Citizenship in Retreat,” public lecture as part of 2015 Canadian guest professorship, University of Kiel, Germany, June 17, 2015

“Legal mobilization in a neo-corporatist world: Why do German refugee organizations not go to court?” Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) Göttingen, MPI Fellow Group „Governance of Cultural Diversity - Socio-Legal Perspectives,“ seminar series, May 21, 2015.

“Citizenship in Retreat: Canada, “Crimmigration,” and the War on Terror,” public lecture hosted by the Migration and Integration Studies Centre (IMIS), University of Osnabrück, Dec 11, 2014.

“Comparative insights and trends: How does Canada fare?” Presentation as part of a panel on Refugees, Law and the Courts, “Migration Matters” series (recorded and available on youtube), Nov 25, 2014.

“Die Europäisierung der kanadischen Migrationspolitik,” public lecture, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Studies (JMCE), University of Onsabrück, Germany, Dec 10, 2013.

“The Europeanization of Canadian immigration policy,” public lecture, University of Kiel, Germany, June 6, 2013.

“Borders and Nation-States – political, philosophical and ethical questions,” roundtable organized by Amnesty International (University of Kiel campus group, in German), May 16, 2013.

“Bringing in the Feds? Comparative Lessons from Germany’s Experience with Immigration Federalism,” Buffett Centre for International Studies & Centre for Forced Migration Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, Nov 12, 2012.

Teaching AWARDS

2012 - Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excelllence (LA&PS, nominated)

2011 - Faculty of Graduate Studies Teaching Award (nominated)



Last updated: Nov 19, 2020