Anthropology and Epidemics, a Quarantine Reading List

Edited by Grace A. Carey



The global COVID-19 pandemic is ushering in what's being called a "new normal" leaving us with questions about what's in store as stay-at-home orders continue and reopening processes begin. In this curated collection, editor Grace A. Carey brings together a series of articles from the AE archives that provide windows into multiple global epidemics in the hope that they may inform our understandings of contemporary pandemic landscapes and the perspectives we take in the coming post-quarantine times.

All articles are Open Access through May 31


Apr 18, 2020


Conspiracy, Rumor, and Media Narratives: Making Sense With Epidemic Fear

“Theorizing Modernity Conspiratorially: Science, Scale, and the Political Economy of Public Discourse in Explanations of a Cholera Epidemic.”
by Charles Briggs


“SARS, a Shipwreck, a NATO Attack, and September 11, 2001: Global Information Flows and Chinese Responses to Tragic News Events.”
by Vanessa Fong


“Mass Hysteria in Le Roy, New York: How Brain Experts Materialized Truth and Outscienced Environmental Inquiry.”
by Donna M. Goldstein and Kira Hall


“AIDS Rumors, Imaginary Enemies, and the Body Politic in Indonesia.”
by Karen A. Kroeger





Living in Epidemics: Strategies, Survival, and Ways of Knowing

“How to do Things to Children with Words: Language, Ritual, and Apocalypse in Pediatric HIV Treatment in Botswana.”
by Betsey Behr Brada


“Nuri’s Testimony: HIV/AIDS in Indonesia and Bare Knowledge.”
by Tom Boellstorff


“Bird Flu Biopower: Strategies for Multispecies Coexistence in Việt Nam.”
by Natalie Porter





The State and Governmental Responses: Epidemics and “Biological Threats”

“A Pre-Event Configuration for Biological Threats: Preparedness and the Constitution of Biosecurity Events.”
by Limor Samimian-Darash


“Living Dangerously: Biopolitics and Urban Citizenship in Bogotá, Colombia.”
by Austin Zeiderman


“Postsocialist Spores: Disease, Bodies, and the State in the Republic of Georgia.”
by Elizabeth Cullen Dunn





Epidemics Amid Colonial, Post-Colonial, and Imperialist Contexts

“The Psychic Life of Biopolitics: Survival, Cooperation, and Inuit Community.”
by Lisa Stevenson


“Contested Bodies: Affliction and Power in Heiltsuk Culture and History.”
by Michael Harkin





Global Humanitarianism, Information Flows, and Social Movements

“Chimeric Globalism: Global Health in the Shadow of the Dengue Vaccine.”
by Alex M. Nading


“Organic Intellectuals, Crossing Scales, and the Emergence of Social Movements with Respect to AIDS in South Africa AES Presidential Address for 2008.”
by Ida Susser


“Humanitarian Aid Beyond “Bare Survival”: Social Movement Responses to Xenophobic Violence in South Africa.”
by Steven Robins


"Commentary: Eyes Wide Shut in Transnational Science and Aid"
by Peter Redfield


“Ethical Variability: Drug Development and Globalizing Clinical Trials.”
by Adriana Petryna