SESSION 1: The Pandemic Imagination

Subtopics: quarantine and solitary confinement, history of pandemics, inequality

In this session we try to contextualize the current pandemic within the broader history of global health crises.What does Covid-19 tell us about the systems we have set in place for ourselves? Our core reference takes us back to the unfolding of things in Wuhan and may debunk some mainstream myths we’ve been exposed to.

From there, we step back to look at what this virus has revealed about our societies and the way we have been living for decades. How are different groups of people infected
and affected unequally?

Core reference:

Social Contagion  On Chuang blog.

To watch/listen:

Infographic: The History of Pandemics, by Death Toll‎Going Viral on Apple Podcasts

Episode: Some New Kind of Plague
(about the Spanish Flu and the scapegoating)
By Hannah Mawdsley and Mark Honigsbaum, 2018.

Extra references:

The Pandemic Imagination    By Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic, March 16 2020.

Covid-19 and the Continuity of the Familiar By Raza Saeed, March 21 2020.

Coronavirus and community activism By Jonathan Neale, Ecologist, March 6 2020.

This prison has a sky without bars By Abdelrahman ElGendy, April 12 2020.

Reading guide // Discussion questions to prepare:

Where do pandemics emerge from?

What are the underlying political, economic and environmental structures that paved the way for this global outbreak?

What does Covid-19 and global responses to it mean for existing inequalities and injustices?

What different measures have states implemented in the current ‘state of emergency’ (short-term and long-term) in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and how do these impact the ability to engage in forms of protest?

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