Lectures

Caring for home: The failures of vaccine nationalism, or, Why the pandemic will not be over soon

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Para español aquí.

It was one of those early spring evenings where the sun was warm and the air fresh. My friends and I were at the park, in what has become a pandemic ritual. Seeing people of all ages running, reading, talking, walking their pets, and enjoying themselves while we also traded the confines of our small apartments for …

Lectures

Situating COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Tanzania

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In early February 2021, Tanzanian Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima announced that the Tanzanian government would not partake in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns—“we are not yet satisfied that those vaccines have been clinically proven safe.” Instead, Gwajima shared that the Government Chemist was testing and approving natural local remedies, where “these traditional remedies have been in use for ages in our societies …

Lectures

The scientific entrepreneur as hero: from Arrowsmith to the covid-19 vaccines

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Cover Arrowsmith, Pocket Books, 1944 Edition

Sinclair Lewis’s novel Arrowsmith, published in 1925 to critical and public acclaim (the book was awarded the Pulitzer prize, although Lewis refused it), is a bildungsroman with an unusual hero: a young doctor cum scientist, Martin Arrowsmith (Lewis, 1925). The hero’s career includes a range of roles and positions: he is at …

Lectures

Science Skepticism as a Veneer for Nationalistic Humor

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Recently we saw a splash of headlines about the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, as Russia became the first country to register a vaccine and governmental officials shared plans for starting mass vaccinations in October. This news was shared all over my social media, with the commentary hewing to repetitive jokes, the humor value of which was based on an implied shared …

Lectures

Standards and urgency in times of pandemics: hydroxychloroquine as a pharmaceutical and political artefact

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Separated by two meters of water from the crowd, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, infected by COVID-19 and wearing his mask, rallied up his supporters, “If by chance your mother or grandfather catches it, will they take chloroquine or not?”

“They will!” shouted back the crowd in unison, across the narrow strip of water.

Hydroxychloroquine has turned from being a commonly …

FeaturesTeaching Resources

Immunity and (Anti-)Vaccination: Histories, Metaphors, Theories – A Syllabus

The natural body meets the body politic in the act of vaccination, where a single needle penetrates both. – Eula Biss, On Immunity 

In recent years, outbreaks of highly contagious diseases like measles and whooping cough have reached epidemic proportions in the US. Such a resurgence in supposedly eradicated diseases has been attributed to rising rates of vaccine refusal in …