Who is Wellness For?

Who is Wellness For?

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Who is Wellness For?: A Live Online Conversation with Fariha Róisín and Targol Mesbah

About this event


  • This event will be streamed live online with an interactive Q&A.
  • Instructions on how to join will be emailed to registrants shortly before the event.
  • This event will be recorded and will be available to watch on our YouTube channel and portions of the audio will be released on our podcast.


If you need to request accessibility accommodations, please email publicprograms@ciis.edu at least one week prior to the event. For more information, explore our Accessibility web page.


Growing up in Australia, Fariha Róisín—a Bangladeshi Muslim—struggled to fit in. In her attempts to assimilate, she distanced herself from her South Asian heritage and identity. Years later, living in the United States, she realized that the customs, practices, and even food of her native culture that had once made her different—everything from ashwagandha to prayer—were now being homogenized and marketed for good health, often at a premium by white people to white people.

An acclaimed writer and poet, Fariha’s latest book Who Is Wellness For? explores the way in which the progressive health industry has appropriated and commodified global healing traditions. She reveals how wellness culture has become a luxury good built on the wisdom of Black, brown, and Indigenous people while both ignoring and excluding them.

Examining wellness practices from meditation to the physiology of trauma, Fariha explores the fraught relationship between the self-care industrial complex and its importance. She argues that if we truly want to be well, we must be invested in everyone’s well-being and shift toward nurturance culture. We must confront the imbalance in health and healing and carve a path towards self-care that is inclusionary for all.

Join Fariha and CIIS Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Change Targol Mesbah in an engaging conversation that explores the commodification and appropriation of wellness through the lens of social justice and provides resources to help anyone participate in self-care regardless of race, identity, socioeconomic status, or able-bodiedness.

Fariha Róisín is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Ontario, Canada. She was raised in Sydney, Australia, and is based in Los Angeles, CA. As a Muslim queer Bangladeshi, she is interested in the margins, liminality, otherness, and the mercurial nature of being. Her work has pioneered a refreshing and renewed conversation about wellness, contemporary Islam, and queer identities and has been featured in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and Vogue. She is the author of the poetry collection “How to Cure a Ghost” (2019), as well as the novel Like a Bird (2020).

Targol Mesbah was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the United States with her family during the Iran-Iraq war. Targol’s research connects to the everyday creative possibilities of living, loving, and dying during wars and their aftermaths. The Zapatista movement’s political theory and practice of building autonomous communities in defense of Mother Earth and to create a world in which many worlds fit orient her work. She teaches critical theory, media studies, and other anticolonial practices in the Anthropology and Social Change graduate program at CIIS and experiments in co-creating collaborative spaces of learning and translation in and outside the university.

We are grateful to our Bookstore Partner:

Marcus Books is the nation’s oldest Black-owned independent bookstore celebrating its 60th year. Marcus Books’ mission is to provide opportunities for Black folks and their allies to celebrate and learn about Black people everywhere. Learn more about Marcus Books.

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