Lectures

“Escaping from Quarantine” from Quarantined: My Ordeal in Uganda’s Covid-19 Isolation Centers

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Few published works of creative non-fiction exist on COVID-19 in Africa. With the publication of QUARANTINED, Ugandan intellectual and philosopher, Jimmy Spire Ssentongo has painted a behind-the-scenes picture of how the Ugandan state handled the coronavirus disease. While the Ugandan president praised self and staff for putting the coronavirus in check through the state’s isolation centres, the people under

Lectures

Craving to be heard but not seen – Chatbots, care and the encoded global psyche

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Mounica Tata, Doodleodrama

“How are you today?” Wysa starts the conversation. 

“Not well,” I reply. 

“Sounds like today didn’t go well. I’m here for you. Describe how you’re feeling right now.” 

“I’m feeling sad because I can’t see many of my relatives and friends at the moment due to corona restrictions. I’m also worried about the health of elderly …

Lectures

Solidarity, infrastructure and critical pedagogy during COVID-19: Lessons from Brazil

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Even before the pandemic hit Brazil’s favelas, residents began organizing to protect themselves — against both the novel coronavirus and the government’s active suppression of effective public health action (Ortega and Orsini, 2020). Seasoned activists began fund-raising, mobilizations donations, distributing food, masks, and hygiene kits, and writing policies and manifestos; volunteers signed up to learn basic first aid and walk …

Lectures

From Mink to the Wild: COVID-19 through the Mirror of Sylvatic Plague

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Even as pandemic response is focused on understanding, controlling and preventing COVID-19 among humans, a ghost haunts epidemiological concerns about the disease: reverse-zoonotic sylvatic Covid. Or, the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to spill-back from humans to domestic or farmed animals, and from there to wild-life, where the virus can establish ineradicable disease reservoirs. This scenario is not far-fetched: the case of …

Lectures

When ‘a People’s War’ Turns Against Them: Reflections on Uganda’s ‘War of the Wananchi’ against COVID-19

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Introduction

“This is a people’s war”, declared President Museveni after the country’s first COVID-19 case, adding, “I have come here to lead the war of the wananchi [against Covid-19]”[1]. When COVID-19 became a reality in Uganda, the government announced ‘a war of the wananchi[2](“a people’s war”) against the virus through a series of incremental measures. …

Lectures

Contested Truths over COVID-19 in Africa: Introduction

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One of the most significant challenges to confronting and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic concerns the manufacturing, circulation, and interpretation of what we call “contested truths.” By this term, we mean the many and varied ways in which official, institutional, and/or scientific facts and recommendations about COVID-19 are challenged, ignored, or subverted at multiple scales, from the individual to the state. …