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The Team

Who We Are

Conference Co-Convenor

Dr. Karen Balcom

Dr. Balcom holds a Ph.D. in Modern U.S. History and Women's History from Rutgers University and teaches in both the History Department and the Women’s Studies Programme at McMaster University. She is an adjunct member of the School of Social Work. She does research on the history of transnational and transracial adoption, with a specific focus on Canada and the United States. She is the author of The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption, Baby-Selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1972 (2011).

905-525-9140, ext. 24152

Dr. Juanita De Barros

Conference Co-Convenor

Juanita De Barros is Professor in the Department of History at McMaster University and the director of the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice (CHRRJ). She is also the co-editor for the Cambridge University Press book series, “Histories of Slavery and its Global Legacies." Her research and teaching concentrate on the history of the Caribbean, the social history of health and medicine in the colonial world, and the history of reproductive rights. Her most recent books are Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender, and Population Politics after Slavery (2014) and the co-edited essay collection, Public Health and the Imperial Project (2015). Her current research project focuses on the intersection between health and the law in the context of child incarceration in early 20th reformatories in the British Caribbean.

905-525-9140 ext. 23541

Conference Co-Convenor

& Research Assistant


Carly Ciufo

Carly Ciufo is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at McMaster University. She has worked in research, archival, copyright, and oral history posts at various arts and heritage organizations across Canada. Her dissertation investigates the capacity of human rights museum workers to do human rights work. She is also an editor at

Dr. Melike Yilmaz

Research Coordinator

Dr. Yilmaz is a Research Coordinator at the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice (CHRRJ), and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the History Department at McMaster. She has extensive teaching and administrative experience in universities across Central & Far East Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Currently, as an administrator at the Centre, she has been organizing international conferences with international partners. As an academic, she is working on forcibly displaced people and the hardships they face in refuge.

905-525-9140 ext. 23541

Research Assistant


Val Flores

Valeria "Val" Flores is an undergraduate student in the Honours History program at McMaster University. She is currently enrolled in the CityLAB Semester in Residence program which connects students across faculties to work in partnership with officials in the City of Hamilton to develop interdisciplinary solutions to issues affecting Hamilton. This January, she will be working with Dr. Michael Egan to research the History of Media Mistrust in Contemporary Times through the Independent Research Project opportunity at McMaster. She will complete her Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in English & Cultural Studies this April. 

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