where trouble was needed

April 15, 2010

Guha – Chandra’s Death

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aravinda @ 1:59 am

Some moments from college remain with you forever. Some are literally just moments – elevator conversations with (or among) people you never meet again (“a survey of 16 truth commissions”).   Or even overheard conversations before the lecture begins.  (“Doubling” in Jane Eyre – overheard just before Said was to speak at Columbia University.   The advice he gave that day:  “write every day.”)

Probably the most fascinating course I took at Madison was on history of health – I don’t remember the title exactly or how I happened to take it but I will never lose the thoughts provoked by some of the articles we read in that class (P Greenough, “Intimidation, coercion and resistance in the final stages of the South Asian Smallpox Eradication Campaign, 1973-1975”).  And the shift in perspective – what is disease? Who is diseased? Manisha Lal, wherever you are, that was one cutting-edge course you taught.  And that stunning, unforgettable article:  Guha – Chandra’s Death.

I remember this again as I read that the Library of Congress plans to archive the public comment that comes via twitter.   Their goal – nothing less than to capture the small drama and fine detail of social existence.

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