Coming up at DAHSM: the Bio-Mediatization Machine, Making ‘Swine Flu’, Preparing for the Next Pandemic

As part of the Culpeper Seminar Series at DAHSM, in April we will have as guest speakers Charles L. Briggs (Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley), Daniel C. Hallin (Department of Communication, UC San Diego), and Clara Mantini-Briggs (Departments of Anthropology and Demography, UC Berkeley), who will give a seminar titled ‘Bio-Mediatization Machine, Making ‘Swine Flu’, Preparing for the Next Pandemic’.
The H1N1 pandemic that began April 2009 was widely acclaimed as having demonstrated the success of preparedness strategies implemented by Bush and Obama administrations and WHO. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative content analysis of print and television news, along with interviews with public health and other officials and journalists, the speakers will scrutinize how this object, “the swine flu epidemic,” was produced during the first two days following its initial public announcement. This example points to how “crisis and emergency risk communication” reorganizes constructions of biomedicalized authority, overriding many of the conventional practices of communication and hierarchies of politics. Rather than a disease- or pandemic-specific focus, the speakers will reflect on the characteristics of a complex and widely dispersed mechanism that can produce powerful biomedical objects that seem to require vast global health responses before basic clinical and epidemiological questions are answered.
The seminar will take place on Wednesday, April 4th from 3:30 – 5:00 pm, Conference Room 474, Laurel Heights campus. All are welcome!

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Last modified: March 15, 2012