Pandemic Anthropology

For those looking for a place to read more about the politics surrounding the swine flu pre-pandemic, Carlo Caduff, Lyle Fearnley, Andrew Lakoff, Stephen Collier and others at “Vital Systems Security” are madly, and intelligently, covering the unfolding events. Several posts in the last few days have addressed the issue of vaccine creation, the WHO and New York City public health surveillance of the disease. I also recommend Nick Shapiro’s posts on Bio-Agent Sentinels and Animal Biosecurity, which preceded the outbreak. All good stuff.


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

One thought on “Pandemic Anthropology

  1. I notice that nothing has been posted under this topic of Globalization since last year. Here goes for globalization the most brutal:

    Today’s Guardian newspaper published an article by Bianca Jagger on the fight for their lives and culture by the Dongria Khondhs of Orissa. At this point all Indian government agencies except for the Forest and Lands have given consent to Vedanta, a global mostly UK-owned but partly Indian-owned as well, bauxite mining corp., to bulldoze the Khondh’s Niyamgiri Mountain.

    Survival International made a short film about these people’s struggle, and updates have appeared on their site:
    Their film, “Mine” can be viewed on this website.
    The Guardian link for the Khondh story is here:

    The situation has been complicated by the fact that Maoist Naxal groups have been fighting police and special forces on behalf of the tribals in Orissa, Jharkand and West Bengal, as well as a government supported fake tribal group operating to destroy tribal settlements and people.
    The stakes are huge profits for multinational mining companies. Vedanta is not the only one.

    Suggest that anthropologists on this blog who are concerned by the march of global capitalism against the peoples and cultures that we presume to study should take note and see if they can help. If you are inclined, check with Survival International on their website.

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