Chuan Hao Chen

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9986

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Chen, Chuan Hao (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Care Under Biocontainment: Preparing American Healthcare Infrastructure for Ebola in the Biosecurity State"

In the wake of the West African Ebola epidemic, the United States federal government has created a national Ebola plan, working with hundreds of private hospitals on building defensive infrastructures against an emerging horizon of highly lethal and contagious pathogens. Key to this preparedness effort is a network of biocontainment centers and treatment protocols that, unlike traditional quarantine policies, emphasize caring for patients who are seen as a threat to national public health and security. Taking this “care under biocontainment” in healthcare as the focus of an ethnographic study, I ask how national biosecurity logics and imperatives affect and complicate everyday practices of care in American hospitals today. Through participant observation at hospitals developing biocontainment capacities, attendance at workshops and technical consultations conducted by the National Ebola Training and Education Center, and interviews with CDC epidemiologists and employees, I will explore the kinds of practices that constitute care under biocontainment, how they are disseminated to build a national biosecurity infrastructure, and how they intersect with ongoing global Ebola response on the African continent. Ultimately, I seek to understand contemporary global dynamics and biopolitics as refracted through evolving practices of care in private hospitals working with the American biosecurity state.