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"Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto", by Parastou Saberi (book launch)

Join us for a book launch and panel discussion on Dr. Parastou Saberi's new book

Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto


Dr. Parastou Saberi, Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick and coeditor of Destroy, Build, Secure: Readings on Pacification.
Dr. Shana Almeida, Assistant Professor, Politics and Race/Racism, Toronto Metropolitan University. Former political staffer, City of Toronto.
Author of Toronto the Good? Negotiating Race in the Diverse City.
Dr. Stefan Kipfer, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University.
Location: Kaneff Tower, Room 626
Date and time: Friday February 3 2023, from 1:00pm to 2:30pm
No registration required.


Co-organized by
The City Institute at York University
Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies
The Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, and
The Department of Politics (LA&PS)




About the book:
The city of Toronto is often held up as a leader in diversity and inclusion. In Fearing the Immigrant, however, Parastou Saberi argues that Toronto’s urban policies are influenced by a territorialized ad racialized security agenda—one that parallels the “War on Terror.” Focusing on the figure of the immigrant and so-called immigrant neighborhoods as the targets of urban policy, Saberi offers an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to the politics of racialization and the governing of alterity through space in contemporary cities.
A comprehensive study of urban policymaking from the 1990s to the late 2010s in Canada’s largest city, Fearing the Immigrant uses Toronto as a jumping-off point to understand how the nexus of development, racialization, and security works at the urban and international levels. Saberi situates urban policymaking in Toronto in relation to the dominant policies of international development and public health, counterinsurgency, and humanitarian intervention. Engaging with the genealogies and contemporary developments of major policy techniques involving mapping and policy concepts such as poverty, security, policing, development, empowerment, as well as social determinants of health, equity, and prevention, she scrutinizes the parallel ways these techniques and concepts operate in urban policy and international relations.
Fearing the Immigrant ultimately asserts that the geopolitical fear of the immigrant is central to the formation of urban policy in Toronto. Rather than addressing the root causes of poverty, urban policy as it has been practiced aims to pacify the specter of urban unrest and to secure the production of a neocolonial urban order. This book is an urgent call to reimagine urban policy in the name of equality and social justice.


About the author:
A former architect, Parastou Saberi holds a Ph.D. in urban geography from York University. She received the Barbara Godard Prize for the Best York University Dissertation in Canadian Studies in 2017, and was awarded several prestigious fellowships in the UK, including the British Academy Newton International Fellowship. She has held postdoctoral positions at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Warwick.
Parastou’s interdisciplinary research is guided by her commitment to social justice and explores the relations among state intervention, securitization, and racialization at the urban and international levels. Her work spans from the convergence of French colonial urbanism and pacification in North Africa, to the relational formation of urban policy, international relations and racialization in Canada and Europe. She is the author of Fearing the Immigrant: Racialization and Urban Policy in Toronto (University of Minnesota Press) and the co-editor of Destroy, Build, Secure: Readings on Pacification (Red Quill Ottawa). Her work is also published in Political Geography and Race & Class, among others.
Parastou is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Warwick Department of Politics and International Studies, and a cofounder and managing director of Fairbnb Coop Canada, a cooperative short-term-rental platform that links home-sharing economy to community land trusts to preserve affordable housing.


About the discussant:
Dr. Shana Almeida is an Assistant Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, specializing in politics and race/racism. Her research and teaching contributions are informed by over six years as senior political staff in the municipal government of Toronto.
Dr. Almeida's recently released book, Toronto the Good? Negotiating Race in the Diverse City, brings together her critical insights as a former political staff member along with her years of in-depth research on diversity in the City of Toronto to offer a compelling case to rethink how we understand diversity and racial inclusion, in the City of Toronto and beyond.
Dr. Almeida has been invited to share her work locally and globally, including in Toronto, Montreal, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, and Grahamstown, South Africa.


Feb 03 2023


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Room 626, Kaneff Tower


The City Institute, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change and the Department of Politics at York University
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