Graduate Student, Kymberley Chu, presents "Representing the Pathogenic Other' in Malaysian Porcine Worlds

April 5, 2023

Anthropology PhD Student Kymberley Chu presented her conference paper entitled “Representing the ‘Pathogenic Other’ in Malaysian Porcine Worlds” at the Relations and Beyond: Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society in Rovaniemi, Finland. The conference was hosted by the Arctic Center and the University of Lapland from March 21 until March 23, 2023. Chu submitted the paper abstract for The BOAR Project’s panel on pig worlds.

Drawing upon journalistic and archival analysis, she presented two perceptual frames of human-pig relations in Malaysia: Capitalist Ecologies of Domination and Mutual Ecologies of Hope. Most importantly, these human-constructed frames have real material and socioeconomic impacts in the world beyond symbolism. In the contemporary Malaysian context, domesticated pigs are characterized as living commodities who provide profit for their human caretakers and have the potential to spread pathogens, while wild pigs are deemed as ecologically destructive pests. Overall, the paper encouraged a broader discussion to reconceptualize pigs as scientific collaborators and political agents in global health settings.