Dr. Afsoun Afsahi is an Assistant Professor of Political Theory at the University of British Columbia. From September 2018 to June 2021, she was an Assistant Professor of Political Theory and Gender at the University of Amsterdam (Tenured in December 2020). Prior to this, she held a Justitia Amplificata Postdoctoral Fellowship at Goethe Universität Frankfurt and Freie Universität Berlin. Born and raised in Iran, she has lived in five different countries.
My research agenda explores the challenges, opportunities, and best methods of inclusion and representation of marginalized communities in democratic decision-making processes. In my book project, I examine whether people are willing and capable of engaging in deliberations with those with whom they disagree on issues that touch upon their cultural and religious identities. In particular, I devised and, through experiments, tested the efficacy of two facilitation methods in increasing the capacity of participants to participate in a respectful, reflective, and constructive way. While I found some evidence of unwillingness for participation in deliberations that can challenge the cultural and religious identities of participants, the facilitative methods were both highly successful at increasing discourse quality by limiting the instances of engagement in undesired behaviours. Currently, I am expanding this research to consider the likelihood and longevity of opinion change as a result of deliberation when different facilitative methods are used.
*Afsahi, Afsoun. (2021). “The role of self-interest in deliberation: a theory of deliberative capital.” Political Studies. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321720981491
Afsoun Afsahi. (2020). “Five Lessons for Democracy from the Covid-19 Pandemic: An international evaluation of democracy in crises.” Public Seminar. https://publicseminar.org/essays/five-lessons-for-democracy-from-the-covid-19-pandemic/ With: Gagnon, Jean-Paul, Rikki J. Dean, Emily Beausoleil, and Selen A. Ercan.
* Afsahi, Afsoun. (2020). “Towards a principle of most-deeply affected.” Philosophy and Social Criticism. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453720972740
*Afsahi, Afsoun (2020) “Disabled lives in deliberative systems.” Political Theory Vol. 48(6): 751-776 https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591720913093
Afsahi, Afsoun. (2020). “Democracy in a Global Emergency: Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Democratic Theory. Online First. https://doi.org/10.3167/dt.2020.070201 With: Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon. (Editorial Introduction to Special Issue)
*Afsahi, Afsoun (2020) “Gender difference in willingness and capacity for deliberation.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxaa003
*Afsahi, Afsoun (2020). “Deliberating across difference – religious accommodation and deliberative democracy.” Journal of Law, Religion, and State. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1163/22124810-2020004
*Afsahi, Afsoun (2019). “Kantian democracy: interdependence, legitimacy, and progress.” Telos 188. Fall 2019: 173-198. https://doi.org/10.3817/0919188173
Journal Issues Edited
Guest Editor, Democratic Theory, 2020. Special Issue on “Democracy in the Time of COVID-19”. Vol. 7, Iss. 2. With: Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon.
2007-2008 University of Toronto – New College Council Scholarship ($150)
2007-2008 University of Toronto – The Rex A. Lucas Memorial Scholarship in Social Sciences ($860)
2006-2008 Ontario Student Opportunity Grant ($2100)
German Research Foundation-DFG Postdoctoral Award €30,100
SSHRC Graduate Award $40,000
I am interested in working with students writing theses/dissertations on democratic theory and practice, deliberative democracy, feminist theories, gender, diversity, multiculturalism, disability, and structural/historical justice.
I have supervised 33 Masters students at the University of Amsterdam working on topics such as state violence in democracies, sex work regimes, role of memes in democracy, Political Realism, and oppression within deliberative systems.