Influenza Pandemics in Perspective
Meeting dates and times:
Over the past decade and more, avian and swine flu pandemics have brought influenza into the spotlight and a series of subsequent political, ethical, historical questions to the fore. How do recent influenza outbreaks and programs for pandemic preparedness indicate the ways that disease etiologies are simplified, coded, and re-coded to reflect larger patterns of globalization and neo-liberal governance? Why are influenzas now approached as problems of “security” rather than public health? How might contemporary food provisioning systems, industrial agriculture, and human-animal relations be implicated in the emergence of disease? How do global political and economic inequalities play a key role in creating the potential for devastating pandemics, and determine how we respond to these threats? How should flu research involving dangerous and transmissible organisms be regulated, and what responsibilities do scientists have to assess and to communicate its risks?
This microseminar will prepare students to engage with the Flu Forum and with a guest lecture by evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace, and to think through issues of global health, international studies (with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia), and science and technology studies all in relation to their own research.
“Influenza Pandemics in Perspective” is part of Biological Futures in a Globalized World, a jointly sponsored project of the University of Washington and the Center for Biological Futures at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.