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Facing Pandemics of Disease and Race: Radically Reimagining for Liberatory Futures
A resource guide for the 2020 International Roundtable
I-Chun Catherine Chang, Geography
Ruthann Godollei, Art and Art History
Olga González, Anthropology and Annan IGC
Ellen Holt Werle, Archives
Ruth Janisch, Annan IGC
Donna Maeda, Annan IGC, American Studies
Sedric McClure, DML
Khaldoun Samman, Sociology
Marjorie Trueblood, DML
At present, the world is facing more than one pandemic: the coronavirus, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism. While the outbreak of COVID-19 has appeared recently, it intersects with long histories of anti-Blackness and racism. Communities of color have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus due to existing health, economic and social inequities. These are connected to ideologies and practices underlying systems of policing that are fundamentally tied to the state-sanctioned murder and the control of Black bodies. While fear of contagion and death had kept people in self-isolation at home, George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police sparked a wave of protests against police brutality, anti-Blackness and racism across the United States and the world.
We are urgently confronted with challenging questions by the confluence of these pandemics: How do we understand worlds built on anti-Blackness? How might we better understand policing as an institution deeply implicated in the social inequities where it serves the needs of the privileged sectors of our society while violently suppressing the needs of its most precarious members to the point of death? How do we eliminate the denial of humanity that underlies state sanctioned murders by police and deep social and structural inequities that society has long ignored or normalized? How do we rethink the limits of notions of democracy and freedom in the face of their complicity with neoliberalism and fascism? What are the connections between systems of social control and the destruction of natural environments that exacerbate racial and economic disparities?
The International Roundtable will provide the opportunity for all of us to consider our participation in the creation of meaning and new worlds. What is the world we want to live in? What is our role in academia, our communities, and the world? How might we use this moment to rethink our contributions and what we might do to create something new for all?