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WEBINAR –Tracking and Treating Coronavirus in China and Beyond: Anthropologists reflect on the response to the pandemic in a tumultuous world

July 22, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

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Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Please join us for a lecture with:

Lyle Fearnley, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Lai Lili, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Medical Humanities Department, Peking University

Mei Zhan, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

Moderated by:

Nick Bartlett, Assistant Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College, Columbia University


This panel, part of the WEAI in a COVID-19 remote lecture series, features brief presentations and discussion by anthropologists who have conducted extensive fieldwork exploring Chinese medicine, infectious disease, and pandemic preparedness in the People’s Republic. Our conversation will include an exploration of the linkages between SARS and coronavirus, in particular focusing on rural health, wet markets and their regulation, transnational strategies for disease surveillance, and visceral forms of racism. We will also discuss the roles that traditional Chinese medicine practitioners are playing as entrepreneurs and researchers in responding to the current coronavirus challenge.


Lyle Fearnley is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Singapore University of Technology and Design. His research in medical anthropology and STS examines zoonotic diseases and food safety in China, as well as hygiene, waste and environment in Singapore. He is the author of Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter (Duke University Press, October 2020).

Lili Lai is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of Health Humanities in Peking University. Her research has focused on cultures of health and embodiment, and practice of traditional medicines in modern China. She is the author of Hygiene, Sociality, and Culture in Contemporary Rural China: The Uncanny New Village (Amsterdam University Press, 2016), and co-author (with Judith Farquhar) of the forthcoming Gathering Medicines: Nation and Knowledge in China’s Mountain South (The University of Chicago Press, April 2021).

Mei Zhan is an associate professor in the anthropology department at UC Irvine. She conducts research in the areas of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, globalization and transnationalism, and China studies. She is the author of Other-Worldly: Making Chinese Medicine through Transnational Frames (Duke University Press, 2009). In addition to earlier research on SARS and wet markets, she is currently writing an ethnography on China’s emergent knowledge economy.

Nick Bartlett is an assistant professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures department at Barnard College, Columbia University. His current research explores the translation and practice of psychodynamic traditions in China. He is author of the forthcoming Recovering Histories: Life and Labor after Heroin in Reform-era China (University of California Press, October 2020).


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute Lectures and Panels event.



July 22, 2020

8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EDT

This event will be streamed live on WEAI’s Facebook page.



Registration not required.





July 22, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category: