The COVID-19 sensorium and its vectors, victims, and violators

Emily Winderman, Robert Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic shifted relationships between hegemonic sensory perceptions and disease epistemologies. The affective pedagogies of the COVID-19 sensorium signal vectors and victims of disease through racialized, classed, and gendered assemblages of sensory presence and absence. Present sounds of weaponized coughing suture white consumerist entitlement to violate public health imperatives. The coughs in the film Corona critique the rise of anti-Asian violence and demonstrate how sound is intelligible through available stereotypes and circulating xenophobic rhetoric. Amid asymptomatic spread, appeals to “Typhoid Mary” Mallon—the first named asymptomatic typhoid carrier–re-emerged as another xenophobic sensory pedagogy to signify threatening absent symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalCommunication and Critical/ Cultural Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 National Communication Association.


  • Covid-19
  • Typhoid Mary
  • disease
  • race
  • whiteness


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