Features

Messianic Medicine: Treating Disease in the Time that is Left

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In “The Time that Is Left”, Giorgio Agamben sketches the problem of messianic time. He writes that the messianic is “not the end of time, but the time of the end. (…) the time that is left between time and its ending” (Agamben 2002, 2). In the following article, I want to take his reflection on messianic time as a …

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Untimely Ends and the Pandemic Imaginary

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It was one of those typical late spring afternoons in Beijing, when the desert sand blowing from the North begins to give way to an electric atmosphere more pregnant with thunder than rain. Seated on a covered leather-armchair, I tried to concentrate my attention away from the rasp of the polyethene sheet under me and repeat the question: So what …

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Never Ending Stories: Narrating Frozen Evidence of Infectious Epidemics Past

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Early Elegy: Smallpox
by Claudia Emerson

  • The world has certified itself rid of
  • all but the argument: to eradicate or not
  • the small stock of variola frozen,
  • quarantined—a dormancy it has
  • refused, just once, for a woman behind a sterile
  • lens, her glass slide a clearest, most
  • becoming pane. How could it resist slipping
  • away with her, that discrete first
Features

Where Has SARS Gone? The Strange Case of the Disappearing Coronavirus

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The emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China’s Guangdong Province in the winter of 2002 was an exemplary spillover event: it marked the passage of a lethal pathogen from nonhuman to human animals and was widely heralded as the first “plague” of the twenty-first century. The SARS coronavirus seemed to burst out of nowhere and demonstrated …

Features

After the End of Disease: Rethinking the Epidemic Narrative

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In conversations with people living with polio in Hungary, I often encountered members of the tight-knit community referring to themselves as “dinosaurs”. We are a breed that is about to die out, they said. Nobody gets polio anymore, some added, and they were right – epidemics, even sporadic wild polio cases disappeared from the country in the 1960s. Their words …