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Recovering First Patients: De-perilizing the Anglophone Pandemic SARS Archive

  • 14 Dec, 2023 - 14 Dec, 2023
  • Seminar
  • English

 Dear colleagues and students,


You are cordially invited to attend the LCS departmental seminar “Recovering First Patients: De-perilizing the Anglophone Pandemic SARS Archive” organized by the Department of Literature and Cultural Studies on 14 December 2023. 


 Details of the seminar are as follows:  


14 December 2023 (Thursday)  


9:00-10:30 am  


Online via ZOOM  


Recovering First Patients: De-perilizing the Anglophone Pandemic SARS Archive 


Professor Belinda Kong  (Bowdoin College)  





As the first global pandemic of the 21st century, the 2003 SARS outbreak was an uncanny precursor to Covid-19.  Who were its first patients, how were they narrated by the anglophone world, and what alternative archives can we look to to retell their stories?  Focusing on three SARS index cases—in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore—this talk examines anglophone news media and popular science journalism that have propagated sinophobic and bioorientalist inaccuracies and distortions about the first SARS patients.  The talk then turns to Chinese-language reporting, epidemiological studies, and local medical and governmental archives to reconstruct these patients' disease experiences and social worlds, arguing for their ordinary humanity. 



Prof. Belinda Kong is Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College. She specializes in Asian American and diasporic Asian literature. Her publications include Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture (2012) and SARS Stories: Affect and Archive of the 2003 Pandemic (2024). Her recent articles “Recovering First Patients” and “Pandemic as Method” offer further insights into her research on pandemic discourses.