Virulent Zones is an impressively timely book in two senses. Its relevance to our present condition would be obvious even without the epilogue, which explicitly places the book's analysis of influenza research in the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the context of COVID-19. It also comes at the crest of a wave of recent anthropological scholarship on human-animal relations and epidemic prevention in China.1 In the book, Lyle Fearnley argues that the search for the origins of influenza pandemics in China changed scientists’ understanding of the disease itself, leading them toward an ecological view of influenza. He draws on World Health Organization archives, interviews, and scientific literature in Chinese and English, as well as ethnographic fieldwork in Beijing and Jiangxi's Poyang Lake, a site where duck farming practices and the intersection of wild and domestic birds posed apparently ideal conditions for epidemic genesis. Theoretically, Fearnley makes sophisticated use...
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Book Review| February 01 2022
Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China's Pandemic Epicenter
Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China's Pandemic Epicenter. By Lyle Fearnley.
Duke University Press,
2020. viii, 280 pp. ISBN: 9781478011057 (paper).
Journal of Asian Studies (2022) 81 (1): 260–261.
Mary Augusta Brazelton; Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China's Pandemic Epicenter. Journal of Asian Studies 1 February 2022; 81 (1): 260–261. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911821002941
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