Thursday, July 22, 2010


In response to Shukin’s analysis of pandemic discourse – did anyone else immediately think about the swine flu? I think it’s eerie how prescient this particular chapter was in light of the h1n1 phenomenon (I think it was published right around the time of the outbreak).

At the time the pandemic was at its height, I remember being amazed by how quickly the rhetotic turned deeply nationalistic, and became so clearly racialized. Conservative pundits had a field day of course. But I think there were more insidious examples of the racism and xenophobia inherent to the pandemic discourse, as well. The medical coverage, for instance, raised troubling questions as to why the disease was so fatal in Mexico (was it biological? Societal?) And now that we know it was less lethal than predicted, one wonders … was the media response an overreaction? And if so – why?

With all the talk about quarantine, I think the rhetoric revealed some interesting dynamics about how we negotiate and talk about the “borders” of our race and ethnicity, as well. This article was particularly revealing in this respect I think.

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