Datafied Kinship: Intrusion and Belonging in a Postcolonial Identity Database

Event time: 
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 3:45pm to 5:15pm
Online () See map
Event description: 

America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan has supposedly come to an end, and yet it continues in the form of securitized infrastructures that have transformed social and political life. This talk delves into the ethnohistory of identification technologies that were key to the process of making individuals trackable and securitization ubiquitous in Pakistan. Drawing on ethnographic and archival material, I explore the production of “datafied kinship”: how blood relations come to be deployed by Pakistan’s national identity database to construct uniquely identified individuals. The figure of the “family intruder” emerges as both a technological category of the identity database, as well as one that comes to be inhabited and negotiated by Pashtun migrants in Islamabad—the direct targets of militarization and surveillance in Pakistan. In turn, I follow the longer history of kinship as a scalar technology that enabled individuation for governance regimes in South Asia, particularly on the frontiers of empire. Examining and parsing the layered colonial and post-9/11 imperial histories that weaponize the relatedness between kin, I argue, leads us to reconsider the relationship between identity, identification and statecraft.
Yale students, faculty, and staff may attend in person. All others may join via Zoom.
HQ 276, 320 York St.
November 4th 3:45 P.M.

Zehra Hashmi, Brown University