Gräfe co-authored an article–Mediating Disease: Scientific Transcriptions of COVID-19 into Animal Models–with Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, for the edited collection Laliv Melamed et al., Pandemic Media: Preliminary Notes Toward an Inventory, published by Meson Press in 2020. When the COVID-19 outbreak burst fully into the public’s eye, in early 2020, it brought with it a menagerie of animal effects and images. The spreading virus seemed to activate preexistent threads of human/animal relationships with a new urgency, as many struggled to reimagine their place in relation to a newly alien “natural” world and sought certainty and stability in the midst of turbulent change. In this essay, Gräfe and Schultz-Figueroa examine a specialized subsection of this discourse focusing on the bodies of non-human laboratory animals, arguing that in the current public and scientific debate they are not only metaphorically becoming the scene of various mediations, but corporeally as well. They conclude that such animal models have an ambivalent relationship to human/animal distinctions in an era of increasing pandemics, working as they do to shore up porous borders, while also creating new overlapping spaces between each category.
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