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Adia Benton, ‘Care, Compassion and Memory in the Ebola Museum’
April 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
What can practices to commemorate official epidemic responses tell us about the logics of response itself? Adia Benton compares two exhibits that describe efforts to respond to the 2014-2016 West African Ebola epidemic: the Imperial War Museum’s Fighting Extremes: From Ebola to ISIS in London and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola: People + Public Health + Political Will in Atlanta.
For the military museum, Ebola represents an instance of the ‘extreme’ and the extraordinary capacity of the armed forces to provide care under challenging circumstances. The exhibit showcases the tensions of militarized humanitarianism, referred to elsewhere as the ‘empire of hugs.’ The CDC exhibit, while highlighting the contribution of its workers and ‘partnerships’ so central in U.S. public health discourse, plays to intimate dimensions of ‘population’ – suggesting that acts of care may occur outside the frame of the interpersonal. Benton will also discuss the in-progress National Ebola Museum in Njala, Sierra Leone, where questions of local ownership, memory and immunity linger in the digital and oral history archives.
This talk is part of the Thursday Jama series sponsored by the Carolina Seminar in African Ecology and Social Processes. The Thursday Jama is open to all area faculty and graduate students in any discipline. Light refreshments will be served. Please contact Stacey Sewall for more information.