New Books In Public Health podcast

Bishnupriya Ghosh, "The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media" (Duke UP, 2023)

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In The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media (Duke UP. 2023), Bishnupriya Ghosh argues that media are central to understanding emergent relations between viruses, humans, and nonhuman life. Writing in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 global pandemics, Ghosh theorizes "epidemic media" to show how epidemics are mediated in images, numbers, and movements through the processes of reading test results and tracking infection and mortality rates. Scientific, artistic, and activist epidemic media that make multispecies relations sensible and manageable eschew anthropocentric survival strategies and instead recast global public health crises as biological, social, and ecological catastrophes, pushing us toward a multispecies politics of health. Ghosh trains her analytic gaze on these mediations as expressed in the collection and analysis of blood samples as a form of viral media; the geospatialization of data that track viral hosts like wild primates; and the use of multisensory images to trace fluctuations in viral mutations. Studying how epidemic media inscribe, store, and transmit multispecies relations attunes us to the anthropogenic drivers of pathogenicity like deforestation or illegal wildlife trading and the vulnerabilities accruing from diseases that arise from socioeconomic inequities and biopolitical neglect. Professor Bishnupriya Ghosh teaches at the Department of English and Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She studies global media cultures, environmental media and critical health studies. Her early research includes two monographs When Borne Across: Literary Cosmopolitics in the Contemporary Indian Novel and Global Icons: Apertures to the Popular, while the co-edited volume exemplifies her current research, The Routledge Companion to Media and Risk. Priyam Sinha is a doctoral candidate in the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. She has interdisciplinary academic interests that lie at the intersection of film studies, disability studies, production cultures, affect studies, anthropology of the body, creative media industries and cultural studies. She can be reached here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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