Cora Olson: "White" Resistance to COVID Vaccination
(Center for Humanities)
Cora Olson will present her research on "white" America and its various faces of vaccine skepticism and hesitancy. By "white," she is referring to both the dominant racial category in America and individual people who identify as part of this category. Olson is particularly interested in the ways of knowing that inform these positions within "white" communities. This project seeks to find alternative answers to the deficit model of public health that is often launched at vaccine skeptical and vaccine hesitant people. Likewise, the project is meant to complicate and unravel sociohistorical genealogies of "whiteness" alongside epistemic commitments. "White" informed refusal is situated in a different context than other forms of informed refusal.
During this discussion, Olson will focus on popular talk show hosts' representations of this resistance or informed refusal along with those articulated by the "Disinformation Dozen." She invites everyone to ask and answer these questions: Do these voices present us with more than partisanship commitments in their resistance? Is it informed refusal or something else? What epistemic commitments are entangled with race and gender in these articulations of resistance?
Cora Olson is a senior instructor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society. Recently, her work has focused on the entanglements of race, COVID, and American healthcare. Within this work, she concentrates on the intersections of public health narratives, white supremacy, and Black American lives. In her publications, she examines race as technology, and, as such, a conduit for larger white supremacist maintenance during the pandemic. In this strand of research, Olson shows how flexible language is often used as an instrument in remaking dominant race relations by placing blame on black and indigenous communities for health disparities while advancing structural biomedical racism in American healthcare. This work asks us to imagine otherwise.
Olson will be discussing her work with Sylvester Johnson, Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities. Please join us for this engaging discussion. The Center for Humanities presents a series of talks with faculty research associates who will discuss their work. this talk is free and open to the public and we invite anyone to attend. There will be a brief Q and A session with viewers following the discussion. If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the Center for Humanities at 540.231.1981 or email email@example.com at least 10 business days prior to the event.