Cholera, Common Ground and Undisciplined Methods: Messages in a Bottle

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningfagfællebedømt

In 1853, during the cholera outbreak in Copenhagen, a sample of cholera-infected feces was collected and sealed in a glass bottle. The sample ended up in the Medical Museion in Copenhagen where it is now exhibited. Recently, a group of scientists voiced a wish to open the bottle, believing that the DNA of the cholera bacteria in the bottle together with archival material from Copenhagen can teach us about transmission ways and improve interventions during present-day outbreaks, particularly in Bangladesh. The museum, though, is unsure whether to compromise this unique object and has asked me to explore the knowledge potentials of the bottle whether it is opened or not.
I thus find myself in an inherently interdisciplinary setting which, I argue, requires methods that craft the bottle as a common ground: a site where different concerns are shared, and where new relations are offered and others abandoned. Anthropological methods are opportunities to make and nurture such composite common ground, and during fieldwork I try to open up to ever more questions about the ecologies of knowledge that cholera becomes part of. All with the aim of highlighting questions about which stories to tell in a museum in the 21st century.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelRubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene
ForlagUniversity of Minnesota Press
StatusUnder udarbejdelse - 2020

ID: 231948196