Measures of Care and Race with Dr. Niyousha Bastani

When and Where

Wednesday, December 06, 2023 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St. Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Dr. Niyousha Bastani


Join us for "Measures of Care and Race" a public talk with Dr. Niyousha Bastani, Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow. This Public Talk is part of a 2023-2024 Andrew Mellon Sawyer Seminar titled “Evasion: Thinking the Underside of Surveillance.” 

About the talk:

In a world increasingly understood to be afflicted by crises of care, notions of well-being rooted in cognitive psychology now shape many popular measures for “becoming more caring” or “more ethical”. In this talk, I show how such measures of care can also be elusive modes of measuring distance from whiteness to determine who must be watched. The recent shift toward psychological approaches in global counter-extremism is one example of how measures of care determine the targets of surveillance. A re-consideration of the UK’s “world-leading” counter-extremism policy shows how anti-Muslim racism is instituted through psychological discourse. These “cognitive” understandings of care institute a racializing measure of being human – one that sediments popular imaginations today. Here we begin to unravel measures of care that elusively reinforce logics of race and racism. We can also ask, what does it mean to evade surveillance, when surveillance presents itself as care? 

About Dr. Bastani:

Niyousha Bastani is a postdoctoral fellow at the Evasion Lab, with research interests in the overlapping histories and politics of care, psychology, race, and education. Especially through engagement with the political thought of Sylvia Wynter, her work questions how these histories and politics shape racial understandings of being human. She is working on her first monograph, based on ethnographic research on psychological and educational approaches to counter-extremism in the UK. Her next research project looks at global usages of psychology for articulating race and anti-imperialism, taking a view from in Iran in the 1960s-80s. She received her PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge, and was formerly Assistant Professor in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. 

Contact Information

Katharine Bell