China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, fixated the world’s attention on the importance of disease control in an interconnected globe and raised questions about the role of the state and the individual in infection control.This interdisciplinary panel features papers by historians and a sociologist, who will use the world’s response to COVID-19 to (re)examine disease control in Maoist and post-Mao China. Epidemic responses, both historically and in the present day, expose inequalities of access to healthcare, and demonstrate the vulnerability of certain populations to disease. Disease control also requires behavioral change, which has prompted resistance and mistrust of science, both historically and in the present day. Likewise, as with earlier outbreaks, the scramble to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the availability of medicine. The panelists include a sociologist analyzing visual materials from a 1950s tuberculosis control campaign, a historian investigating cholera in 1960s Zhejiang, and a historian whose work illustrates the importance of pharmaceutical responses to outbreaks. The COVID-19 pandemic suggests that only limited progress has been made on several issues pertaining to disease control. By (re)visiting these historical challenges, this panel hopes to provide a space for processing our recent experiences with COVID-19 and deepening our understanding of the past.
Paper Presenter: Rachel S. Core – Stetson University
Paper Presenter: Xiaoping Fang – Nanyang Technological University
Paper Presenter: Yang Li – Princeton University