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This discursive presentation will consider how the notions of nature, natural and naturalness and of hazard and disaster, have been understood in the COVID-context. COVID-19 was initially presented as an ‘equaliser’ cutting across gendered and racial differences with the potential to impact all equally. While later discredited, this idea of the hazard as being neutral and natural, not socially constructed, nevertheless continues to underpin the political discourse of many governments. The notion of the ‘natural disaster’ while long discredited, more generally continues to find resonance with policy makers and in political discourses of denial of responsibility. The notion of ‘the natural’ again is contested but again continues to be a powerful political and policy rhetoric particularly in relation to reinforcing gendered roles, relations and identities. This presentation reflects on the use of these notions in the conceptualisations and contextualisations of COVID-19 as a gendered experience.
This webinar is jointly presented by the ANU Gender Institute and the Poverty and Inequality Research Centre at the Crawford School of Public Policy.