Jenny Reardon, in her contribution to the “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series, argues that the metaphors of war and battle in fighting Covid-19, now commonplace, can have their own problematic effects on how we imagine and act in the face of the pandemic. The “us vs. them” imagery that war metaphors promote pulls us away from veracity—“trustworthy truths” that foreground human (and nonhuman) relations and interdependencies. The pandemic provides an opportunity, Reardon argues, to mobilize veracity for a more just post–Covid-19 future.
Jenny Reardon is a professor of sociology and the founding director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research draws into focus questions about identity, justice, and democracy that are often silently embedded in scientific ideas and practices, particularly in modern genomic research. Her training spans molecular biology, the history of biology, science studies, feminist and critical race studies, and the sociology of science, technology and medicine. She is the author of Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics (Princeton University Press, 2004), and, most recently, The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome (The University of Chicago Press, 2017). She has been a visiting professor in Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College in London and the Center for Technology in Society at the Technical University of Munich. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from, among others, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute, the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Study, the Humboldt Foundation, and the United States Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.