Other links:

Other links:

The Plague Town: Politics of Pandemic

How do we understand the political response to the current pandemic? Are global political crackdowns necessary in response to an imminent biological threat? Or does a virus merely provide an excuse for harsh quashing of dissidence for the “greater good”? Could both be true? This course will examine classic texts on control and the “greater good” with an eye to current events. We will traipse through three realms in which diffuse but all-encompassing systems exert control for greater public good: public health, public space, and public safety. Students will have an opportunity to read and examine primary colonial and contemporary sources to ask, what is “good” and who gets to control who has access to it? What is curtailed in order to achieve public order? Who gets to decide? How does a pandemic exacerbate already existing forces through which “the public good” is available only to certain people, at the expense of others? This course considers the benefits as well as the pitfalls of “good” practices like sanitation drives, marking out public parks, and neighborhood safety patrols, and finally, works to imagine a more just world – even in a moment of global fear, disease, and death.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka