Racialisation and Social Boundary-Making in Times of COVID-19
Date: 2-4 December 2020
Organisers: The ChinaWhite research team
Aldina Camenisch, Willy Sier (postdocs), Ed Pulford (co-organizer), and Shanshan Lan (PI)
The current global COVID-19 pandemic has led not only to the closure of national borders and a near stand-still of international mobility but also to a resurgence of social ‘othering’ and related racist and nationalist narratives and practices. As much as the new COVID-19 virus has been perceived as an ‘outsider’ invading human societies rather than an inherent part of the human-animal ecosystem, racialised human ‘others’ have been blamed as the main carriers and spreaders of this zoonotic virus. For instance, within China people who are from Wuhan (where the pandemic first started) or who have travelled to the Wuhan area have been socially stigmatised and ostracised. At the international level, US-President Donald Trump was quick to frame COVID-19 as a ‘Chinese virus’ while Asian people around the world have been victims of an increased number of racial incidents and a related resurgence of the ‘yellow peril’ discourse. Meanwhile, the Chinese state has proclaimed internal control of COVID-19 and is externalising new infections as a merely imported phenomenon. An uptick in xenophobia targeting foreign populations has been evident in both state and public discourse in China.
In light of these recent developments, our international online workshop will investigate and theorise the multi-faceted ongoing processes of racialisation and social boundary-making in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The selected papers are grouped in six panels, each providing a specific perspective on racialisation and boundary making practices in different locations and contexts. Panel themes include politics and diplomacy, migrant work, borders and boundaries, mobility regimes, online racisms and solidarities, and perceptions of overseas Chinese.
This workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is required.