Pandemic, Plague, Pestilence and the Tropics: Critical Inquiries from Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Keywords:pandemic, plague, pestilence, epidemics, COVID-19, tropics
The Tropics have long been associated with exotic diseases and epidemics. This historical imaginary arose with Aristotle’s notion of the tropics as the ‘torrid zone’, a geographical region virtually uninhabitable to temperate peoples due to the hostility of its climate, and persisted in colonial imaginaries of the tropics as pestilential latitudes requiring slave labour. The tropical sites of colonialism gave rise to urgent studies of tropical diseases which lead to (racialised) changes in urban planning. The Tropics as a region of pandemic, plague and pestilence has been challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel coronavirus did not (simply) originate in the tropics, nor have peoples of the tropics been specifically or exclusively infected. The papers collected in this Special Issue disrupt the imaginary of pandemics, plague and pestilence in association with the tropics through critical, nuanced, and situated inquiries from cultural history, ethnography, cultural studies, science and technology studies, Indigenous knowledge, philosophy, anthropology, urban studies, cultural geography, literature and film analyses, and expressed through distinctive academic articles, poetry and speculative fiction.
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