Bergen Summer Research School
BSRS Public keynote

Herd Racialisation: Pandemic Inequality and the Remaking of Population

Neel Ahuja, Professor, University of Maryland-College Park

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Building on themes from the book Planetary Specters, this presentation considers racial security logics emerging in the transition from the pre-pandemic construction of a climate migration threat to the era of COVID-19 lockdowns and health emergency. Tracking the reconstruction of race as population through early epidemiological, sociological, and geographic studies on COVID-19 disparities, the presentation tracks the mobilisation of race as public health institutions attempt to integrate the social and infrastructural components of risk into data surveillance.

Analysing the example of the racialisation of the Herd Immunity Threshold, the presentation explores how emergent epidemiologies of COVID-19 configure racial inequality not only as differential vulnerability to illness and death but also to unequal immune labours required for the transition from pandemic to endemic status.

This session will be chaired by Postdoctoral fellow Redi Koobak, University of Bergen.

Neel Ahuja is Visiting Professor in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park, located on the unceded lands of the Piscataway people. He is the author of Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species (2016) and Planetary Specters: Race, Migration, and Climate Change in the Twenty-First Century (2021).