"The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context"

March 16, 2021 - 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm (already occurred)
Held Via Zoom, Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.u
Event poster featuring headshots and biographical information about Kim Yi Dionne and Fulya Felicity Turkmen

The Department of Political Science and Department of Economics at Amherst College, along with additional funding from the Eastman Fund and the Lamont Fund, present "The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context."

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This event is free and open to the public.

Talk abstract:
The COVID-19 pandemic has either reminded or introduced publics to how pandemics can affect marginalized populations through blame and othering. In this lecture, we draw on our recent article published in International Organization in which we study the history and global scope of pandemic othering and blame. We argue that in a global politics characterized by racialized inequality, pandemics such as COVID-19 exacerbate the marginalization of already oppressed groups. We draw on lessons from smallpox outbreaks, the third bubonic plague, the 1918 influenza pandemic and more recent pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola, to historicize pandemic othering and blame. We also compile reports to document the discrimination and violence targeting marginalized groups early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The article and our lecture lay bare the continuation of a long history of othering and blame during disease outbreaks and identify needs for further inquiry.


Kim Yi Dionne
Dionne is an associate professor of political science at UC Riverside and was formerly a Five Colleges assistant professor of African politics (2013-2018). She studies health interventions, identity, public opinion, political behavior and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries. She is a contributing editor to The Monkey Cage, a blog on politics and political science at The Washington Post. She also founded and co-hosts Ufahamu Africa, a weekly podcast about life and politics on the continent. She is the author of Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Fulya Felicity Turkmen
Turkmen is a Ph.D. student at UC Riverside, where she is focusing her training in comparative politics and international relations. Her research examines international migration, citizenship, ethics of immigration and forced migration. She also works as a research and production assistant for Ufahamu Africa, a podcast about life and politics on the continent.

Contact Info

Stephen Laizer
(413) 542-2208
image of e-mail address@amherst.edu