Pandemics Reflected

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Pandemics Reflected goes behind-the-scenes with anthropologists, writers,  political scientists, journalists and artists – the people that perhaps wouldn’t come first to mind when thinking about pandemic scholarship – about how their research and lives entangled due to COVID-19. From death threats to burnout and new creative directions, expert voices were challenged and stimulated.

How have pandemics shaped our understanding of the world? Join medical anthropologist Dr Pauline Herbst in a series of conversations with scholars from a range of disciplines, to find out how COVID-19 is changing the culture of knowledge.


Medical anthropologist Dr Pauline Herbst asks pandemic researchers in the arts how their life, research and the culture of knowledge has changed due since COVID-19.
Music:  “What is Truth?” © Tim Page 2002/2022
Production: Pauline Herbst, Tim Page, Luca Muir
Artwork: Seline McNamee & Luca Muir
Webpage: Luca Muir

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Episode 1: Poetic Engagements with a Pandemic
Conversation with Professor Lisa Samuels

In this episode of Pandemics Reflected, Pauline speaks with Lisa Samuels, Professor of English, poet and author. We delve into her new collection of poetry, breach, written as a visionary text over a five-day period in the 2020 New Zealand lockdown. We talk about Lisa’s process and discuss how pandemic thresholds affect multimodal artforms.


Episode 2: The Dangerous World of Data Analysis
Conversation with Dr Andrew Chen, Research Fellow

A conversation with data ethicist Dr Andrew Chen about how he went from computer systems engineer to working on questions around data privacy and the COVID tracing app

Episode 3: Everything is Touched By Politics
Conversation with Dr Maria Armoudian, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

Dr Maria Armoudian joins us on Pandemics Reflected to talk about retribution for human rights violations, how access to medical care relates directly to who lives and who dies and how her research plans were scuppered due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Conversation with Dr Heather Battles, biological anthropologist.

In this episode of Pandemics Reflected, Dr Heather Battles joins us to talk about her ongoing research on infectious disease epidemics and pandemics and the correlations she has found with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Conversation with Dr Rochelle Menzies & MA Miriama Aoake

Dr Rochelle Menzies and Miriama Aoake discuss the importance and flexibility of indigenous research methods like kaupapa Māori research and the challenges and successes experienced over the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Conversation with Professor Susanna Trnka

Professor Susanna Trnka, a professor of social and medical anthropology, and leader of the Pandemics Past, Present, and Future Research Hub talks to us about her body of work examining citizen state relationships in the context of political upheaval and health, and how her COVID-19 research was a natural extension from this. We also discuss what led to the formation of the research hub and how this fostered truly transdisciplinary conversation.

Coming soon: 

Episode 7: