Revealed in the Wound: Iraqibacter and the Biology of History

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  Friday, February 26, 2021
  12 - 1:30 p.m.
  Zoom Webinar
  Omar Dewachi, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

Building on ethnographic research on wounds and the ecologies of war and healthcare in Iraq and across the Middle East, this talk explores the rise of Iraqibacter, a moniker given to Acinetobacter baumannii — a superbug associated with the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Tracing the histories and geographies of this “superbug” across the landscapes of war injury, I show how unravelling ethnographic and microbiological knowledge about antimicrobial resistance reveals deeper entanglements of this killer superbug in the political, biosocial, and environmental manifestations of long-term Western interventions and present-day conflict fallout across the region. Building on the notion of biology of history, the registration of human activity in bacterial life, I suggest that Iraqibacter could be understood as an archive of the changing ecologies and toxicities of war in Iraq and beyond.

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314
510.642.8208
cmes@berkeley.edu

 

 
 

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