Sars Stories: Affect and Archive of the 2003 Pandemic (Sinotheory) (Paperback)
In SARS Stories, Belinda Kong delves into the cultural archive of the 2003 SARS pandemic, examining Chinese-language creative works and social practices at the epicenters of the outbreak in China and Hong Kong. As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted issues of anti-Asian racism and sinophobia, Kong traces how Chinese people navigated the SARS pandemic and created meaning amid crisis through cultures of epidemic expression. From sentimental romances and Cantopop songs to raunchy sex comedies and crowdsourced ghost tales, unexpected and minor genres and creators of Chinese popular culture highlight the resilience and humanity of those living through the pandemic. Rather than narrating pandemic life in terms of crisis and catastrophe, Kong argues that these works highlight Chinese practices of community, care, and love amid disease. She also highlights the persistence of orientalism in anglophone accounts of SARS index patients and global reporting on COVID-era China. Kong shows how the Chinese experiences of living with SARS can reshape global feelings toward pandemic social life and foster greater fellowship in the face of pandemics.
Belinda Kong is Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College and author of Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture.