In times of crisis, we rely on experts to help us make decisions and understand the impacts of those decisions. In the coming weeks and months, as we try to make sense of the Coronavirus and its spread, we will be looking not only to epidemiologists and doctors, but also to anthropologists, sociologists, and others who can provide insight into the social and historical dimensions of the outbreak.
Biosecurity refers to the detection, deflection, and containment of everything from epidemics and natural disasters to resource scarcities and political insurgencies. Nancy N. Chen and Lesley A. Sharp, editors of Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability (SAR Press, 2014), focus on how vulnerability propagates in the shadow of biosecurity:
The currently unfolding pandemic involving COVID-19 is a poignant, unsettling, and urgent reminder of the entanglement of local and global bioinsecurities, and, in turn, the weight of vulnerability shared by humans and other life forms. Such tales of precarity call for a pairing of critical theory and informed praxis that both honors, and protects, local configurations of survival in everyday life. The contributions in this volume anticipate how communities reframe everyday life in the face of ongoing uncertainties.
To support this project of exploring uncertainty and upending the status quo, SAR Press will make Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability openly available for download over the next several months. We hope that by sharing this work, we can make a small contribution to the knowledge and understanding that will make all of us safer in an increasingly connected world.