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Decolonizing Ebola Rhetorics Following the 2013–2016 West African Ebola Outbreak

Marouf Hasian, Jr.

Decolonizing Ebola Rhetorics Following the 2013-2016 West African Ebola Outbreak defends the position that, despite the supposed “lessons” that have been learned about the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) after the 2013–2016 West African Ebola outbreak, there remains a need to “decolonize” the rhetorics of Ebola prevention and containment. The author asserts that the failure of governments, aid organizations, and global media to confront the structural and material legacies of colonialism in West Africa will prevent global communities from adequately dealing with sporadic Ebola outbreaks. Central to the book’s argument is that far too many communities in the “global North” are unwilling to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars that are needed for the prevention of endemic and epidemic diseases in the “global South.” Instead of coping with the impoverished legacies of colonialism, organizations like the World Health Organization support the use of small groups of “Ebola hunters” who swoop down during crises and put out EVD outbreaks using emergency health techniques. The author demonstrates how Western-oriented ways of dealing with EVD have made it difficult to convince West African populations—wary of emergency interventions after a long history of colonial medical experimentation in Africa—that those in the West truly care about the prevention of the next Ebola outbreak. Decolonizing Ebola Rhetorics ultimately argues that as long as global journalists and elite public health officials continue to blame bats, bushmeat, or indigenous burial practices for the spread of Ebola, the necessary decolonization of Ebola rhetorics will be forestalled. The author concludes the book by offering critiques of the real lessons that are learned by those who try to securitize or military Ebola containment efforts.

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Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments

Extract

I would like to begin by thanking the undergraduate students at the University of Utah who have taken my classes on social justice. They have been some of my most demanding critics, and this was especially the case when it came to debating about Ebola rhetorics.

I would also like to thank Stuart Culver, the dean of our College of Humanities, as well as Danielle Endres, the former chair of our Department of Communication. Both of them were understanding as I worked away at this book during a part of the sabbatical that I took during the fall of 2019. Thanks also goes to the external reviewer who offered helpful guidance.

Erika Hendrix, at Peter Lang, provided invaluable help as I worked on revising this manuscript and preparing it for publication. Janell Harris, the production editor for this book, kept me on task and helped me immensely during the revision processes. My sincere thanks to Naresh Kumar at Newgen Knowledge Works who was the production contact for this book.

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