The pathogen and the prejudice: Jiwei Xiao on COVID-19 in China and in America


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Literature professor and cineaste Jiwei Xiao, who grew up in Wuhan and whose mother still lives there, published a piece in the New York Review of Books about watching the coronavirus pandemic unfold — first at a distance in Wuhan, then up close in the U.S., where she now resides. In this episode, Jiwei joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss her experiences.

11:56: China’s initial response to the outbreak

16:18: Fang Fang’s comments on China’s response to COVID-19

25:09: Emerging literature on the pandemic

35:10: Occupying a space between nations and cultures


Jiwei: A work of “China noir”: The Wild Goose Lake, by Diao Yinan.

Jeremy: Keep Cool, by Zhang Yimou.

Kaiser: A long-form piece in the New York Times Magazine, I’m an E.R. doctor in New York. None of us will ever be the same, by Helen Ouyang.

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This podcast was edited and produced by Kaiser Kuo and Jason MacRonald.