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SSN/ADI Online Seminar #2: The Emergence of COVID19: A Multispecies Story

SSN/ADI Online Seminar #2: The Emergence of COVID19: A Multispecies Story

The Deakin Science and Society Network hosted a series of online seminars looking at different angles of the COVID-19 pandemic, co-hosted with the Alfred Deakin Institute.

Watch a recording of the seminar here.

Origin stories about COVID19 have circulated widely. An exotic animal market, deep in the enigmatic East, spawned a new pandemic virus. Multiple species of bat and little scaly anteaters called pangolins have all been implicated in conventional accounts about the coronavirus outbreak. Outbreak narratives, about the wet animal market in Wuhan, reek of Orientalism. Media pundits, who have struggled to explain the sudden upheaval of the modern world, have reanimated old stereotypes about Asian people and exotic animals. The subjects of these multispecies stories, to reference Edward Said, share “in common an identity best described as lamentably alien.” As medical doctors, virologists and epidemiologists publish new evidence, origin stories about exotic animals are starting to fall apart.


About the speaker:

Eben Kirksey, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Deakin University, is currently in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has published two books with Duke University Press: Emergent Ecologies and Freedom in Entangled Worlds. St. Martin’s Press will publish his most recent book, The Mutant Project: Inside the Race to Genetically Modify Humans, later this year.


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