Society Must Be Inoculated: Covid-19, Governance, Propaganda

May 20, 2022

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Since COVID-19’s first infection, the virus has mutated. Each expected virological mutation summons increased governmental and medical surveillance, received both positively and suspiciously by the public. The instituted state of exception was most aggressively diagnosed by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Agamben, however,  is not alone in theorizing the pandemic. Thinkers like Slavoj Zizek, Jean-Luc Nancy, Sergio Benevenuto, and Catherine Malabou have also published reflections on the virus’s spread. In fact, a veritable sub-section of academic publishing has emerged due to the virus. However, there has been noticeable hesitation within the American academy to engage critical perspectives on the topic. Despite the civilian skepticism of lockdowns and masks, these issues remain widely dismissed by popular media. The academy’s relative silence on these issues solidifies their status as mere conspiracy. In a recent intervention, Agamben writes, “It’s time, both for teachers and for students, to find once again—after two years of a state of exception and the cancellation of all the most basic liberties—that political conscience that seems to have disappeared from schools and the university” (Two Names, August 28 2021). In that spirit, we invite 10-15 minute long paper submissions from all disciplines that rekindle this political conscience and resurrect a spirit of critical inquiry as it applies to Covid-19. The conference will be held virtually in May 2022. We are particularly interested in papers that touch on the following topics:

* Governmentality and Covid-19

* Immunization and biopolitics

* Propaganda, media, and (dis)information about Covid-19 

* Biopower and Foucault

* States of exception

* Social psychology and pandemic anxiety 

* Civil liberties and control societies

Submissions are due by March 11th at 12am PST and should be sent to [email protected]

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