Epidemiology, the “Data Deluge,” and the Problem of “Good” Information

This article is part of the series:

Walking down the halls of a public health agency in the fall of 2009, I quickly became recognizable as the person doing research on information-sharing and sensemaking during infectious disease outbreaks. Two weeks into my tenure, I started being hailed by my academic association and playfully taunted with echoes of my research question: “Hey, Berkeley! Have you figured out the …

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

In the Journals

“Multispecies Ethnography": a special issue of Cultural Anthropology

Just when you thought it was safe to engage in human exceptionalism…. Cultural Anthropology comes along with a special issue on “Multispecies Ethnography.

In their introduction– which surveys a range of literatures and conceptual turns which have preceded and laid the groundwork for this “species turn” – S. Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich write:

“A new genre


Anthropologists on H1N1 flu

Just as speculation is increasing about the possible scale of an H1N1 epidemic this fall, the latest issue of Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness includes three excellent editorials by anthropologists on the issue.

In “Biocommunicability and the Biopolitics of Pandemic Threats,” Charles Briggs and Mark Nichter focus on the communicative practices which made the epidemic …


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