Bhargavi Rao of the India team published a critique of India’s centralized approach to responding to Covid-19. Her commentary commended the state government of Karnataka for finally realizing that a pandemic cannot be fought top down and for proposing a decentralised approach at the ward level in Bengaluru.
In a press release, Leo Saldanha and Bhargavi Rao, both members of the India team and founders of Environment Support Group (ESG), called on officials to reconsider its plan to use a landfill to cremate and bury the bodies of Covid-19 victims. Saldanha and Rao challenged the government’s claim that two disaster management acts allow it to use the landfill as a crematorium, and demanded a more suitable and dignified solution.
Brice Laurent of the French team shared insights from his ANR Expercrise study about the role of centralized public decision-making in France’s crisis of expertise. He cited CompCoRe and the value of comparison in bringing out differences among countries in the way they think about the role of the state.
The second issue of CompCoRe Chronicle is out. This issue includes accomplishments from the team, insights about current events from several country teams, and a research note about how national leaders used (or didn’t) war metaphors when addressing their constituencies about the pandemic. Read the full newsletter here.
Historian Adam Tooze (Columbia University) discussed his forthcoming book, Shutdown, at the first STS@Tea, a new series of occasional events co-organized by Harvard STS and CompCoRe. Using a critical macro-finance framework, he examined how the Federal Reserve’s emergency interventions in the US Treasury market in early 2020 made lockdowns possible throughout the world. Hilgartner and Jasanoff engaged with Tooze’s global perspective from a comparative STS perspective, arguing that the nation state was the key unit of analysis for understanding why many wealthy nations failed to control the virus. Despite their orthogonal perspectives, the consensus was that economic resources were necessary but not sufficient to manage the pandemic. The event was moderated by Özgöde.
Sheila Jasanoff gave a keynote lecture titled “Control, Consensus, Chaos: The Global Response to the Pandemic” at the opening night of CONTAGION, an online exhibition that explores the transmission of emotions, behaviours and diseases. The lecture drew on CompCoRe findings and how they might inform our understanding of the human impacts of the pandemic. Science Gallery Bengaluru organized the exhibition.
Sheila Jasanoff spoke on “Social and Political Context of Preparedness” at the first meeting of the Influenza Public Health Interventions Committee at National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Her talk counseled the committee on priorities for analyzing the COVID-19 pandemic and related events. The committee is tasked with strengthening non-vaccine measures for seasonal and pandemic influenza.
An article in the Harvard Kennedy School newsletter highlighted CompCoRe research and the Interim Report. It featured quotes from Sheila Jasanoff, and listed the Five Fallacies and Five Hard Truths from the Interim Report.
Sheila Jasanoff was the guest at a session of Amrita Datta’s Corona Conversations series on Mobility and Migration. She discussed the unequal impacts of the pandemic on working people under the title “Between the Virus and the Vaccine: The Comparative Politics of Public Health Sovereignty.”
STS scholars Kohta Juraku and Kyoko Sato, both on the CompCoRe Japan team, joined podcast host Scott Knowles and other STS scholars for a conversation about Covid and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on 10th anniversary of the triple disaster.
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