Metaphors of war and battle in fighting COVID-19, now commonplace, can have their own problematic effects on how we imagine and act in the face of the pandemic. The “us vs. them” imagery that war metaphors promote pulls us away from veracity—“trustworthy truths” that foreground human (and nonhuman) relations and interdependencies. The pandemic provides an opportunity to mobilize veracity for a more just post-COVID-19 future.
Jenny Reardon is a Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research draws into focus questions about identity, justice and democracy that are often silently embedded in scientific ideas and practices, particularly in modern genomic research. Her training spans molecular biology, the history of biology, science studies, feminist and critical race studies, and the sociology of science, technology and medicine. She is the author of Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics (Princeton University Press, 2005) and The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome (Chicago University Press, Fall 2017). Recently, she started a project to bike over one thousand miles through her home state of Kansas to learn from farmers, ranchers and other denizens of the high plains about how best to know and care for the prairie.
James Doucet-Battle is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley/University of San Francisco Joint Medical Anthropology Program where he received his Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of science, technology and society studies, development studies, and anthropological approaches to health and medicine. He applies these interests to study the political economy of genomic discourses about race, risk, and health disparities. He is the author of the book, Recruiting Sweetness: Translating Race, Risk, and Gender in Type 2 Diabetes Research and several journal articles.