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A wink and a recommendation: thick description in the covid-19 pandemic

By Rachel Irwin In The Interpretation of Cultures (1973), Clifford Geertz discusses Gilbert Ryle’s notion of thick description with winks and twitches.  Both appear as a contraction of the eyelid, but a twitch is involuntary, while a wink is a form of communication. There are countless messages conveyed by the wink, and there are countless […]

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Thinking about the common good: COVID-19 and governance in Taiwan

By Chia Yu Lien While writing a blog article for Synapsis: a health humanities journal on Taiwan’s governance in relation to COVID-19, I found myself ill-equipped to talk about meanings of the common good when thinking of border controls, resource allocations, and policy communications. Considering Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben’s theories of governance and power, […]

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“Extraordinary Medicine”

By Yifeng Troy Cai, Brown University “Any breakthroughs on the ‘extraordinary medicine’ yet? Not even in the U.S.? How about vaccines? When can we start using it?” My informant was disappointed when I told him there was no “extraordinary medicine” for COVID-19 yet, nor would any vaccine be ready for the public anytime soon. In […]

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The Cruelty of War: Repairing COVID-19 Through Healing and Care

*Con traducción al español By Emily Yates-Doerr “We are at war” says the head of the World Health Organization, warning the world that “the virus threatens to tear us apart.” “We’re at war with a virus,” the former US vice-president says at a presidential debate. The current US president has labeled himself a wartime president. […]

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‘Social Distancing’ is more than standing 6 feet away

By Kamala Russell As of early April 2020, nearly half of the global population are under orders to cease public life as usual, to shelter in place in their homes, and to maintain safe distance from those not in their households to mitigate the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In the United States, this latter […]

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COVID-19: What can the United States learn from the Democratic Republic of the Congo?*

By Rachel Niehuus and Jason Stearns Discussions of COVID-19 often cast the Global South as the tragic victim of an imminent surge in cases there. Doctors and public health experts have lamented the weak health systems in the Global South––there are fewer than 130 ICU beds in Haiti and perhaps only 500 ventilators for 190 […]

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The Pain of Waiting During a Pandemic: Displacements of Disability in a Time of Crisis

By Amanda Votta I woke up one morning in early March with the worst sore throat I’d had in a decade. My entire body hurt five times more than usual, and I felt so cold I was shaking. When I took my temperature, though, it was a normal 98.2F. And my throat, even if it […]

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Coronashock Capitalism: The Unintended Consequences of Radical Biopolitics

By Stefan Ecks 2020 is a significant year for the social sciences. Not only because COVID-19 changed how we think about global connectedness and local distancing. By some strange coincidence, 2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of Max Weber’s death. He was only 56 years old when he died in Munich on June 14th, 1920. […]

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