Scientists on Stage: Public Trust in China during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Most academic and media analyses of China’s Covid-19 response have treated “China,” “the Chinese government,” “the Chinese communist party (CCP),” and “Chinese officials” as homogenous and unitary entities, disregarding an army of diverse personnel who contribute to the country’s disease control strategies and who put them into practice on the ground. In fact, however, many of these personnel hold multiple statuses at the same time. As the virus sweeps throughout China and the world, these individuals are playing and made to play various roles, including establishing scientific credibility, on different stages. In this talk, Yishu Mao will bring to light a few examples to illustrate how public trust in science in China is forged when some individuals smoothly switch between their different roles, adopting diverse techniques, and undermined when the multiple roles of some individuals create conflicts and raise public controversies.
History in the Making: COVIDCalls and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Disasters are too frequently described as external events—they happen to us, the temporality is linear and brief, we recover from them—with very brief background and limited exploration of deeper social structures and disaster impacts. It is much more the case—and we are seeing this with COVID-19—that a disaster is the result of a great number of interconnected processes. On the COVIDCalls Podcast, disaster researchers suggest ways to keep those linkages right in front of us, and even suggest tools of analysis, care, and policy to keep the truth of disaster inequality right in front of us—through the present and the future of this pandemic, and beyond. In doing so COVIDCalls is also forming a historical record of the pandemic.
Pandemics Past and Present
In this talk Laura Spinney will compare and contrast public communication and trust in science in the context of two pandemics—the 1918 flu pandemic and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. She will also explore the subject of pandemic memory, and ask whether the world’s most recent pandemic might lend itself more easily to remembrance than the catastrophe of 1918, because of advances in information technology that happened in the interim.