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Lectures

Surviving COVID-19

This article is part of the following series:

Survival. Perhaps the word carries more weight today than ever. We are all engaged in this exercise of collective survival. Many of us have found ourselves forced to become accustomed to the unwelcome novelty of the burden of extreme uncertainty. And it is only now that we can understand what it means to live in vulnerability. We now found ourselves …

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Lectures

The Social Potential of Continuing to Wear Masks

This article is part of the following series:

We are often told that anti-epidemic masks should not be politicised. Though often well intentioned, this admonition falls short of taking masks seriously as social and historical objects. For, in assuming these to be inherently neutral prophylactic devices whose politicisation is simply an epiphenomenon, this narrative fails to understand and acknowledge that the historical institution of anti-epidemic masks has been …

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Lectures

Falling off the cliff: Mythical sacrifice mirrored in Sweden’s Covid-19 response

This article is part of the following series:

Ättestupa is the Swedish word given to a number of steep cliffs. The myth of the ättestupa holds that in prehistoric Nordic times, older community members would throw themselves off a precipice for the sake of the greater good during famines or crises. The harrowing myth of ritual sacrifice has shown up in recent popular culture, such as in the …

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Books

Vanishing Center: Virulent Zones x A Time of Lost Gods

When I began reading Lyle Fearnley’s Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter (2020), I was struck by an isomorphism of our projects in spite of their apparent distance of themes—pandemic prevention and spirit mediumship, which are often rendered, respectively, global and local in scale. But as Fearnley put it in his book: “the pandemic epicenter …

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Books

Turning Care Inside Out: The Occupied Clinic x Virulent Zones

Saiba Varma’s The Occupied Clinic begins with an entrance: descending from an auto-rickshaw, she walks in through the Kathi Darwaza gate into old Srinagar, on foot now, passing “imperial debris” on the way to the clinic: the Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital, Kashmir. Inside the clinic, it’s a busy Saturday, with crowds of patients seeking appointments with the few psychiatrists on …

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Lectures

Handling Contested Truths in Times of Crises: Ghana’s COVID-19 Experience

This article is part of the following series:

As the pandemic ravages the rest of the world, the casualty rate in Africa remains a mystery to those who predicted doom for the continent. Given African countries’ past experiences with infectious diseases, public health officials at the United Nations, aid agencies, media, and some experts predicted that the continent would be the most vulnerable and susceptible …

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