About this blog
„Witnessing Corona“ is inviting contributions of max 2000 words that address questions of: – Social solidarity and moral blaming – Living a life in social and/or physical isolation – Unequal biosocial and/or psychological vulnerabilities – Political-economic implications for healthcare infrastructures – Historically contingent forms, possibilities, and risks of governmental intervention – And a host of […]

Singapore Nipped Things in the Bud
Germany Struggled with Delays
As has been widely reported, a novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Spreading rapidly through the city, and eventually the province of Hubei in January, countries and cities in the region started to implement travel restrictions in regards to Wuhan and eventually all of China. However, before its extremely infectious nature was […]

Xenophobic Moods in the Wake of a Pandemic
Impressions from India
This note is born out of our exchange with my supervisor, professor William S. Sax, about our recent escapes from different parts of India, in the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping in mind the Modi’s government’s abrupt manner of action, I decided to make my way back when things started to build up, and […]

The Cultural Construction of the ‘Bizzare’
Disentangling Sinophobic Language in Media and Science During the COVID-19 Epidemic
The Wuhan virus, the Chinese virus, or SARS-CoV-2? Wording matters! I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the borders from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative […]

Virological Witch Hunts
Coronavirus and Social Control under Quarantine in Bergamo, Italy
Compilations of video clips of Italian mayors berating citizens breaking quarantine to walk dogs, jog, or play ping pong have become something of a ‘viral’ sensation both in Italy and globally. The clips are often amusing, featuring politicians accusing their constituents of vanity, incontinence, and other assorted sins. As anthropologists interested in the politics of […]

Monströs oder gespenstisch?
Fragen von Schuld, Verantwortung und Solidarität in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie
Dieser Text stellt eine theoretische Reflexion zur Corona-Pandemie dar, die ich aus einer Situation in meiner Feldforschung zur lokalen Aushandlung des globalen Klimawandels im Rheinland entwickelt habe. Da in Deutschland seit Ende März 2020 aufgrund der globalen Corona-Pandemie alle Bürger*innen angehalten sind, sich weitestgehend abzuschotten und körperliche Distanz zu ihren Mitmenschen zu wahren, fand ich […]

Refugees in Bremen fighting for protection
Vulnerability, power relation, and the double-standards of structural racism in Corona times
Since the beginning of the pandemic COVID-19, the German media have been full of calls for solidarity, with demands to stand together in times of crisis and to take care of others. A wide range of diverse practices and domains, ranging from neighborhood aid (Vetter 2020, TAZ 2020a) and large national “rescue parachutes” for the […]

COVID-19 in an Economically Fragile and Politically Divergent Country
Impressions from Sudan
For now I do not remember when and how I first heard about COVID-19, but I remember well when I had my first conversation with someone about the virus: It was on 31 January 2020 at the University of Cologne in Germany. As we were heading to take B.2.1 (German language test), a classmate asked […]

‘Too Close for Comfort’
Public Health, Private Zeal and the Corona Pandemic in India
These are my preliminary thoughts during the first two weeks of being at home from work, in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). I teach at a university in this city, the capital of the eastern Indian state, West Bengal. On 14 March 2020, the Chief Minister of the state ordered all educational institutions shut fearing a sharp […]

The spread of ‘Corona’: from the Urban to the Rural
Impressions from Kenya
In this contribution I want to examine how rural areas were already ‘hit’ by the coronavirus without having any confirmed cases, i.e. while the virus had not really manifested itself yet, a plethora of information, (fake-)news and rumours shaped people’s actions, feelings and perceptions about it. Moreover, the government regulations to limit the spread of […]

At the Border of Us and Them
An Anecdote of a Korean International Student Going Through Corona Pandemic in France
With the spread of the coronavirus, social distancing has become a new imperative. The changes are indeed very fast-paced. While many countries are adopting various measures to control the coronavirus outbreak, some measures are tougher than others, from mere recommendation on reducing social and physical contacts to an enforced lockdown in the village/city or travel […]