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Unequal Immunities; The Partial Narrativization of the First Large Vaccination Campaign

Seminar with Juan Carlos González Espitia, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event will take place in building 1422, room Preben Hornung Stue, while it will also be possible to attend via Zoom. Both options require registration in advance.

Info about event


Wednesday 7 October 2020,  at 15:00 - 16:30


Building 1422, Preben Hornung Stue and via Zoom

Our present hope to confront the Covid-19 pandemic rests on the creation of an effective vaccine. Together with this hope, there is the challenge of implementing a successful strategy of vaccination in our globalized, ultra-connected, interdependent, and migrant world. We can trace a similar mix of challenge and hope back to the efforts of immunization against smallpox (variolation) at the end of the eighteenth century, and specifically to the Real Expedición Filantrópica de la Vacuna (Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition), the first large project of vaccination in the world, implemented by the Spanish crown between 1803 and 1806 in its colonies of America and Southeast Asia. In our conversation I will discuss medical, cultural, economic, and political challenges confronted by this endeavor. More importantly, I will explore some of the historical silences, lapses, re-narrativizations, and mythifications attendant to the Expedición, and their unfolding into unequal contemporary accounts (e.g. a novel written by an award-winning author, or a popular television series). The goal for our exchange is to identify elements in the past that may be useful to the understanding (and prevention?) of challenges, inequalities, or mythifications that have arisen, and may arise, in our present situation.

Marie Louise Tørring and Carsten Stage have kindly agreed to participate as discussants for this talk. 

Register via https://events.au.dk/unequalimmunities20/signup