Against quarantine

Angela Mitropoulos’ article “Against Quarantine” is an important intervention in the debate around the COVID-19 crisis, particularly as it provokes many positions currently upheld and contemplated, regarding concepts such as vulnerability, solidarity, precaution, etc. Now, as if proof were in any way required, Trump’s television address of March 12 made it patently clear how “quarantine rationalizes xenophobia and calls for ethnonationalist separation”, and how “the resort to quarantines draws on the biological-racial understanding of nations as discrete organic entities and prevents or displaces a social understanding of health and disease”.


Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre, Australia (2008)

At the moment it seems of the utmost importance to be caring AND anti-nationalist, to take the epidemic seriously AND fight all the separatist undertones of the lockdown. The literature on the politics of quarantine (and its history) is vast and often instructive (just have a look at Neal Arthur Dickerson, Civil Rights: HIV Testing, Contact Tracing & Quarantine [1993] or Alison Bashford, Quarantine: Local and Global Histories [2016]), and might help to support the very “social understanding of health and disease” Mitropoulos is advocating. TH

March 15th, 2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes

Short notice: Jean-Luc Godard, live interview with Lionel Baier (écal/HEAD, Geneva) via Instagram, April 7, 2020, 2.30 pm! Now also available here.

April 7th, 2020, Tom

Brought to our attention by Derek Gregory via his resourceful Geographical Imaginations blog: an open call for contributions to the “Corona Notebooks” of Warscapes, a recommended independent online magazine “that provides a lens into current conflicts across the world.” Warscapes is looking for short, 2-3 minute videos “of yourself thinking about this pandemic, maybe accessing a previous memory, maybe reporting on an injustice, maybe narrating a sweet fragment from your daily life, maybe recounting a second chance that this pandemic gave you, maybe telling us about a loved one you reconnected with, maybe you’ve seen a movie or read a book that was powerful, maybe telling us about having the illness. The tone, the tale, the genre and the language is yours to choose. There is an overwhelming amount of news and information but we will together weave an emotionally vibrant and artistic tapestry.”

April 3rd, 2020, Tom

Almost too good to be true in these times of pandemically enforced streaming: Means TV claims to be “the world’s first worker-owned, post-capitalist streaming service,” “entirely funded by people like you.” It has “a library of films, documentaries, and shows with new programming added all the time,” as well “live weekly shows covering news, the working class, gaming and sports. All available to subscribers for $10/month across desktop, mobile and smart TV devices like Roku, Fire and Apple TV. No advertisements or product placements. No corporate backers or VC cash ever.” See also the respective article at Hyperallergic.

April 1st, 2020, Tom
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