Features

Epidemic Philosophy

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Can a virus ever prompt good philosophy? Within weeks of its emergence, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was galvanizing celebrity European philosophers and social theorists, most of them men in a vulnerable age demographic, to reflect publicly and plentifully on the meaning of the pandemic. These days, it seems, an epidemic demands urgent philosophical inquiry, and lots of it—personal protective equipment for …

Lectures

Our COVID Museum: Notes from Physician-Anthropologists on the Frontlines of an Evolving Pandemic in Seattle and New York City

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As the pandemic of SARS-CoV2 (the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19) unfolds it continues to impact contemporary forms of sociality and community, health, care, governance, and global interconnectedness. These changes and the myriad challenges they pose are critical fodder for anthropologists of health and medicine, and we are called upon now to document lived experiences, reflexively use social theory and …

Lectures

COVID-19 Forum II: Introduction

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Since the first installation of Somatosphere’s COVID-19 Forum was published on March 6, the cases of confirmed COVID-19 have risen more than ten times, from 100,000 to over 1.1 million, with coronavirus-related deaths rising from 3,400 to over 60,000. With daily new infections in China dropping to near zero, Italy, Spain and the USA have emerged as the largest hot-spots …

Lectures

El Virus: A Contagion of Racism & How Networks of Care Can Stop It

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My mother FaceTimed me a month ago and asked if I needed her to ship me hand sanitizer from Phoenix to Oregon. I thought it a silly question, but in hindsight, I should have known better than to doubt my mother. During our chat she informed me that a relative called earlier in the day to check in on her, …

Lectures

Populist Pharmakons

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On March 22, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro delivered a long cadena– an impromptu speech carried live by public and regime-controlled TV stations – dedicated exclusively to COVID-19. Wearing, somewhat incongruously, a FC Barcelona tracksuit, Maduro gave a grim report on the spread of the virus around the world and justified his decision to impose a “voluntary and radical national …

Lectures

Epidemic Times

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Epidemics like Covid-19 fundamentally change the order of time. The present moves faster, the past seems further removed, and the future appears completely unpredictable. Everyday homogenous time splits up into different and often contradictory temporal logics. The time of the virus, the time of capitalism, and the time of political decisions compete, challenge, and clash with each other, impacting human …