Notes from Case Zero: Anthropology in the time of Ebola

This article is part of the series:

The lead for a story on the Ebola outbreak is, by now, familiar: on the 22nd of March, the Guinean Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola, the first ever in the region. The virus has since spread through the countryside and across its borders: west to Sierra Leone, south to Liberia, and most recently, north into Senegal. Cases …


Public Debate and the Conflict of the Faculties

For the last five years Paul Rabinow, Gaymon Bennett and I engaged in collaborative participant-observation in the Berkeley based Synthetic biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). SynBERC is a consortium of biologists and engineers from UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Harvard, MIT and Stanford. This Center is funded by National Science Foundation and was the first synthetic biology …

In the Journals

"Epidemics": a special issue of Behemoth

The electronic journal Behemoth which “focuses on the general problem of the fading and/or failing state,” has a new themed issue which focuses on epidemics, more specifically exploring “critical issues arising within the new problem space of emerging infectious diseases,” (Caduff 2010).  As Carlo Caduff argues in his introduction to the volume,

“In the aftermath of the Cold


Paul Rabinow on "Synthetic Anthropos"

At the National Humanities Center’s excellent On the Human Forum, Paul Rabinow has a new post describing his recent work on synthetic biology–conducted in collaboration with a number of students and colleagues in other disciplines. The project emerged from Rabinow’s work directing the Human Practices Thrust of the Berkeley-based Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). Rabinow begins his post …


Swine flu, cont.: mini-post

The swine flu outbreak is getting more interesting. I’m particularly compelled by the various trackings, especially because the cultural politics of surveillance–or lack thereof–is emerging as a critical issue. The Google Maps version is a personal favorite. 

Of course, the various economic issues are fascinating as well. Have stock in Tamiflu? 
The WHO is holding a scientific review tomorrow …

Emerging thoughts on swine flu

Globally, the number of cases of swine flu, and deaths attributed to or probably caused by the H1N1 virus are escalating; the microbe is certainly on the move. The BBC has a decent map of the outbreaks. Today, (in an article depicting a cool picture of a thermal scanner at Incheon International Airport in South Korea), The New York Times