Popular representations of Asia during the pandemic have been ambiguous and contradictory. On the one hand, the framing of covid-19 as something inherently Chinese has resulted in a surge in anti-Asian violence worldwide; on the other, some Asian states have been seen as positive role models for their successful suppression and elimination strategies. Overall, however, international depictions of Asian experiences with the pandemic have been superficial and lacking. Taking into account a selected number of Asian contexts to shed light on living through the pandemic, this event aims to reorient, broaden, and contextualise understanding of our year with covid-19. The speakers will reflect on the reactions to the pandemic within the region, and how these have been perceived in a global context. The discussion will also draw parallels between present and past moments of rampant disinformation, contradictory scientisms, nationalistic competition, duelling exceptionalisms, stigma experienced by medical professionals, and entrenching xenophobia—examining how populations have sought to understand and conceptualise life with a new and unknown disease.
Nicholas Loubere – Lund University
Martha Lincoln – San Francisco State University
Claudia Merli – Uppsala University
Michael G. Vann – California State University, Sacramento
Kailing Xie - The University of Warwick