Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shukin, Chapter 4- Biomobility

I apologize for not getting this up last night, I hope everyone will still get a chance to look at it. Skukin's text brings up so many possible topics of discussion that it was hard for me to try to cover it all. Here are some questions to get us started.

In chapter 4- Biomobility: Calculating Kinship in an Era of Pandemic Speculation, Shukin discusses the implications and consequences of a global humanity united by the threat of pandemic. "If on the one hand," she writes, "pandemic discourse seems to unify a global humanity on the basis of its irreducible biological vulnerability to disease, on closer inspection it can be seen to effect racialized reinscriptions of cultural difference within the 'bare life' of the biologically continuous humanity it invokes." (187)

What does Skukin mean when she says that pandemic discourse signals that the survival of biological life itself is reemerging as an object of biopower? And in what ways does the media contribute to this pandemic discourse? Can the media shape the discourse in a positive way?

Shukin says that the species line emerges as a prominent material stress line in neoliberal culture and pandemic fears have begun to institutionalize speciesism on an unprecedented scale...

"The "small world" of the global village no longer popularly connotes an ideal of multicultural mingling in a world marketplace. Instead, in pandemic discourse the "village" re-emerges as a breeding ground of disease that must be quarantined from the space of liberal cosmopolitanism to which it had been intimately articulated but that it now threatens to infect"

What are some other examples of material stress lines in our culture? How does this speciesism and pandemic fear of the "small world" inform ethnography and vice versus?

What about our "liberal longing for posthuman kinship"? (188)

What does it mean to create a bestiary for our culture? What are some of the benefits and pitfalls of this idea? Is Colbert's brand just orientalism?

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