Pandemipolitics sets out to explore key questions that Covid-19 and previous pandemics have presented to global politics past, present and future.

It was founded and is administered by Dr Brieg Powel and Professor John Heathershaw and  includes posts from fellow academics of International Relations (IR) at the University of Exeter.  None of us are global health specialists but rather we seek to address questions of pandemipolitics from within the particular empirical and conceptual contexts of which we specialise.  For a reading list on pandemics and global health politics see this introductory one (and full-length one here) from Professor Sophie Sharman. Our primary audience is scholarly but we aim to contribute to the public debate and in the public interest where appropriate.

Our questions include:

  • How do we and might we conceptualise ‘disease’ and ‘pandemic’ in IR?
  • How does the crisis speak to, and how is it being spoken to, by the various ontologies and theories of the international?
  • What lessons are there for the concepts the discipline holds dear, such as sovereignty, and those which are more emergent, such as the transnational?
  • How might we historicise pandemics and global responses to them?

And more immediately:

  • What does Covid-19 reveal about the subjects and objects of IR?
  • What role have power relations, both traditional and biopolitical, played in Covid-19’s spread and the global response(s)?
  • Which disparities and commonalities have been exposed, challenged, or reaffirmed by its spread?

This initiative is open and pluralist in form and content.  We encourage a variety of theoretically- and historically-informed perspectives from students and scholars of IR and other fields.  The blog will publish think-pieces on a weekly basis of up to 1,000 words which may comment on recent developments or stand back and place epidemic in theoretical or historical context.  As more pieces are posted, we will open these up to discussion online in both text and perhaps in a podcast format.  However, none of the above is determining and we will allow the conversation to emerge, develop and come to an end according to the wishes of participants.

Please contact pandemipolitics@gmail.com if you’d like to offer a guest post.

Follow us on twitter @pandemipolitics

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