This essay deploys the concept of pandemic as a set of discursive relations rather than a neutral description of a natural phenomenon, arguing that pandemic discourse is a product of layered histories of power that in turn reproduces myriad forms of imperial and racial power in the new millennium. The essay aims to denaturalize the idea of infectious disease by reframing it as an assemblage of multiple histories of American geopower and biopower from the Cold War to the War on Terror. In particular, Asia and Asian bodies have been targeted by US discourses of infection and biosecurity as frontiers of bioterrorism and the diseased other. A contemporary example of this bio-orientalism can be seen around the 2003 SARS epidemic, in which global discourses projected the source of contagion onto Asia and Asians. Pandemic as method can thus serve as a theoretical pathway for examining cultural concatenations of orientalism and biopower.

You do not currently have access to this content.