How can historical and philosophical knowledge help us to make sense of the crisis? (Sabina Leonelli)

By Sabina Leonelli

This journal special issue brings together scholarly reflections on the COVID-19 pandemic from scholars in the history, philosophy and social studies of biology and biomedicine. Themes may include, but are not limited to, the role of modelling, data practices and uncertainty in pandemic science and policy responses; the genealogies and reconfigurations of life science expertise in the face of the pandemic; the biopolitics and governance of biological knowledge, particularly in related fields such as epidemiology and immunology; the implications for research organizations and management worldwide, including experimental practices and work with non-human organisms; the intersection between private and public research activities and services, including with regard to population monitoring and public health services, across countries; the history and implications of the specific discourse and metaphors (e.g. military) used to depict human relationships with disease; relevant conceptual underpinnings and methodological questions in epidemiology, such as how to compare different populations; historical links to eugenics and racism, particularly in relation to the focus (or lack thereof) on vulnerable populations; and methodological reflections on how the pandemic may affect scholarly work in the history, philosophy and social studies of biology.

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