The Cultural Politics of COVID-19  book cover
1st Edition

The Cultural Politics of COVID-19

ISBN 9781032301860
Published August 22, 2022 by Routledge
442 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

COVID-19 isn’t simply a viral pathogen nor is it, strictly speaking, the trigger of a global pandemic. Since the outbreak began in late-2019, an outpouring of clinical and scientific research, together with an array of public health initiatives, has sought to understand, mitigate, or even eradicate the virus. This book represents a snapshot of critical responses by researchers from 10 countries and 4 continents, in a collective effort to explore how Cultural Studies can contribute to our struggle to persevere in a "no normal" horizon, with no clear end in sight. Together, the essays address important questions at the intersection of culture, power, politics, and public health: What are the possible outlines for the panic-pandemic complex? How has the pandemic been endowed with meanings and affective registers, often at the tipping points where existing social relations and medical understanding were being rapidly displaced by new ones? How can societies discover ways of living with, through, and against COVID that do not simply reproduce existing hierarchies and power relations?

The 30 essays comprising this collection, along with the editors’ introduction, explore the formative period of the COVID pandemic, from mid-2020 to mid-2021. They are grouped into three sections – ‘Racializations,’ ‘Media, Data, and Fragments of the Popular,’ and ‘Un/knowing the Pandemic’ – themes that animate, but do not exhaust, the complex cultural and political life of COVID-19 with respect to identity, technology, and epistemology. No doubt, readers will chart their own pathway as the pandemic continues to rage on, based on their own unique circumstances. This book provides critical-intellectual guideposts for the way forward – toward an uncertain future, without guarantees.

The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Cultural Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: COVID-19, the multiplier 

John Nguyet Erni and Ted Striphas 


2. COVID-19 and the mundane practices of privilege 

Kumarini Silva 

3. Following the science? COVID-19, ‘race’ and the politics of knowing 

John Clarke 

4. ‘Give me liberty or give me COVID!’: Anti-lockdown protests as necropopulist downsurgency 

Jack Bratich 

5. Racism is a public health crisis! Black Power in the COVID-19 pandemic 

Lisa B. Y. Calvente 

6. Asian Americans as racial contagion 

Madhavi Mallapragada 

7. COVID-19 and ‘crisis as ordinary’: pathological whiteness, popular pessimism, and pre-apocalyptic cultural studies 

Josh Smicker 

8. COVID-19 and the affective politics of congestion: an exploration of population density debates in Australia 

Sukhmani Khorana 

9. The long and deadly road: the COVID pandemic and Indian migrants 

Raka Shome 

Media, Data, and Fragments of the Popular 

10. New normals, from talk to gesture 

Chris Ingraham 

11. Everyday life and the management of risky bodies in the COVID-19 era 

Jeffrey A. Bennett 

12. Virus government – A twenty-first-century genealogy of the ‘dusk mask’ as biopolitical technology 

James Hay 

13. Bio or Zoe?: dilemmas of biopolitics and data governmentality during COVID-19 

Yeran Kim 

14. Predicting COVID-19: wearable technology and the politics of solutionism 

James N. Gilmore 

15. Learning from Lana: Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle, COVID-19, and the human-nonhuman entanglement in contemporary technoculture 

Fan Yang 

16. COVID bread-porn: social stratification through displays of self-management 

Ravindra N. Mohabeer 

17. Parodies for a pandemic: coronavirus songs, creativity and lockdown 

Jon Stratton 

18. Fashion in ‘crisis’: consumer activism and brand (ir)responsibility in lockdown 

Rimi Khan and Harriette Richards 

19. Zombie capitalism and coronavirus time 

Elmo Gonzaga 

20. No time for fun: the politics of partying during a pandemic 

Nicholas Holm 

Un/knowing the Pandemic 

21. Enduring COVID-19, nevertheless 

Rebecca A. Adelman 

22. The dead-end of ad-hocracy 

Charles R. Acland 

23. The spectacle of competence: global pandemic and the redesign of leadership in a post neo-liberal world 

Leon Gurevitch 

24. The epiphanic moments of COVID-19: the revelation of painful national truths 

Mette Hjort 

25. Collective disorientation in the pandemic conjuncture 

Alexander J. Means and Graham B. Slater 

26. Mistranslation as disinformation: COVID-19, global imaginaries, and self-serving cosmopolitanism 

Sheng Zou 

27. Religion and urban political eco/pathology: exploring communalized coronavirus in South Asia 

Asif Mehmood, Sajjad Hasnain and Muhammad Azam 

28. Doing cultural studies in rough seas: the COVID-19 ocean multiple 

Elspeth Probyn 

29. COVID-19 at sea: ‘the world as you know it no longer exists’ 

Christiaan De Beukelaer 

30. Back to the future: lessons of a SARS hysteria for the COVID-19 pandemic 

Allen Chun 

31. Beyond the crisis: transitioning to a better world? 

Ien Ang 

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John Nguyet Erni is Dean of Humanities and Chair Professor of Cultural Studies at The Education University of Hong Kong. Previously, he was Fung Hon Chu Endowed Chair of Humanics at Hong Kong Baptist University. His most recent book is Law and Cultural Studies: A Critical Rearticulation of Human Rights.

Ted Striphas, Coeditor of the journal Cultural Studies, is Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, USA. He is author of The Late Age of Print and of the upcoming monograph Algorithmic Culture. Twitter: @striphas