Natasha N. Iskander, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Service, conducts research on the relationship between migration and economic development. She looks at the ways that immigration and the movement of people across borders can provide the basis for the creation of new knowledge and of new pathways for political change. She has published widely on these questions, looking specifically at immigration, skill, economic development, and worker rights, with more than 30 articles and book chapters on these topics. Her first book, Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico (Cornell University Press, ILR imprint, 2010), looked at the ways that migrant workers transformed the economic development policies of their countries of origin. Her forthcoming book, Does Skill Make Us Human?: Migrant Workers in 21st Century Qatar and Beyond (Princeton University Press, 2021), examines the use of skill categories to define political personhood, in ways that have become increasingly salient with the hardening borders and the pressures of climate change.
Dr. Iskander’s research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Qatar National Research Foundation, and others. She has held positions as a fellow-in-residence at the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility at the New School for Social Research, at the Center for Advanced Studies of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and at the Global Research Institute at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Dr. Iskander received her PhD in Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She also holds a Masters in City Planning (MCP) from MIT, and a BA in Cultural Studies from Stanford University. In addition to her research, she engages in development work with partners ranging from the World Bank to small NGOs, internationally and in the United States, on issues of urban development, migration and development policy, and migrant worker rights.