Picture from Diana Thomaz

Diana Thomaz‘s doctoral research analyses the participation of international migrants in squats organized by housing movements in central São Paulo, Brazil. Her study is based on six months of ethnographic fieldwork in São Paulo, during which she collaborated with the Central São Paulo Roofless Movement (MSTC). By examining the fragile coalition between the Brazilians leading MSTC and migrants (coming mostly from Haiti and African countries), Diana’s dissertation explores the different political horizons of the two groups, and their strategies for navigating this highly segregated global city of the South. Her work builds on interdisciplinary debates surrounding migration, citizenship, and urban politics, and it underscores the centrality of housing not merely as a fundamental right but as a condition enabling the development of different political projects for both citizens and non-citizens.

Diana holds a BA in International Relations from Fluminense Federal University, Brazil, and a MA in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her MA thesis, based on fieldwork conducted on Brazil’s border with Peru and Bolivia in 2014, investigated the way Haitian migrants in Brazil contested their depoliticizing portrayal as “victims of a natural disaster,” and how they devised ways to escape a precarious shelter. Findings of this research were published in the journals Citizenship Studies and Social and Legal Studies.

Academic / Professional Awards

  • 2019 Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • 2017 International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Doctoral Research Award
  • 2015 Ontario Trillium Scholarship
  • 2015 Balsillie Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2014 Visiting Research Fellow at Brown University (Fall)
  • 2014 “Faperj Nota 10” Fellow for M.A. cohort’s highest grade average
  • 2013 Brazil’s Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) Masters’ Fellowship



  • 2018 “What’s in a category? The politics of not being a refugee.” Social and Legal Studies 27 (2): 200-218.
  • 2016 “The tactical politics of ‘humanitarian’ immigration: negotiating stasis, enacting mobility.” Citizenship Studies 20 (5): 595-609. Co-authored with Carolina Moulin.

Non-peer reviewed:

Migration, Mobilities, and Social Politics
  • MA International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2015
  • BA International Relations, Fluminense Federal University, 2012

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