The Racial Geographies of Covid-19


  • Willem Schinkel Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Sociology



Covid-19, pandemic, racialization, race, capitalism, epidemiology


The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to constant epidemiological analyses and evaluations, as well as to a variety of etiological analyses and speculations on the origins of SARS-CoV-2. A veritable forensic fetish has emerged, in which the minute details of infection figures, reproduction numbers, and the efficacy of measures are continuously hashed out. In this paper, I seek to highlight the racial dynamics at play in contemporary virus talk. Not only has the pandemic turned out to be governed as a thousand epidemics, these epidemics have been nationally defined. Each country listed its own infection frequencies and R-number, and yet the geography of the nation-state does not overlap with the ecology of a virus. The two are entangled in complex, and often performative ways, for instance when national measures affect infection rates in certain countries. But from an ecological point of view, a pandemic is precisely not something to be disaggregated in nationalized epidemics.





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