A NEW PAPER by Claudia Rivera-Amarillo & Alejandro Camargo. Part of a forthcoming themed section of the feminist geography journal, Gender, Place & Culture on populationisms that was co-edited by PopDev with a feminist collaborative. The themed section builds on the Old Maps, New Terrain Meeting of May 2016.
ABSTRACT: In 2016, during the Zika epidemic, scientists discovered another disturbing effect of the virus: pregnant women with the Zika virus faced the risk of having babies with microcephaly. Governments and international organizations responded by encouraging women to delay pregnancy and also by surveying their domestic spaces and water management practices. Feminist scholars and activists criticized these measures as ignoring barriers to quality reproductive health services and women’s particular vulnerabilities to climate change, as the virus was soon associated with global warming. This article critically analyzes the unequal and differentiated position of women during the 2015–2016 Zika outbreak. Through the concept of the Zika assemblage, we discuss how populationist interventions upon women’s bodies also involved particular representations of these bodies within different spaces and scales, from the household to the local and the global. We consider the geographical imaginaries and realities that shaped the identities and bodies of those women, as well as their connections with geopolitical notions of security and emergency. In this way, we expose how impoverished women from the Global South ended up bearing the responsibility to maintain an international epidemiological order. The article concludes with a reflection on the dissonance between populationist interventions and the root causes of climate change and environmental injustice.
To cite this article: Claudia Rivera-Amarillo & Alejandro Camargo (2019): Zika assemblages: women, populationism, and the geographies of epidemiological surveillance, Gender, Place & Culture, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2018.1555518