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Victoria Oana Lupascu

by rmb529 Aug 27, 2018
Victoria Oana Lupascu

2018-19 Crawford Fellow

PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature and Asian Studies

College of the Liberal Arts


Victoria Oana Lupascu is in her fifth year of the Dual Title PhD Program in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies. She focuses on post 1980s literature and visual culture in People’s Republic of China, Romania and Brazil. Her research interests include: ethics, medical humanities, graffiti and identity, political and cultural transition states, the relationship between the development of Chinese, Romanian and Brazilian literature and visual culture and the transformations in the medical and economic systems, as well as their connection to different discourses on the Global South.

Dissertation: “Disease, Disposability, Dissent: The Biopolitical Cultures of Health in China, Brazil and Romania Between 1976 and 2014”

Project Description: As a Crawford Fellow, I will continue my research and aim to complete my dissertation, Disease, Disposability, Dissent: The Biopolitical Cultures of Health in China, Brazil and Romania between 1976 and 2014. In my work, I critically examine the ethical and cultural implications of thinking of humans as waste, as disposable, and I juxtapose this line of inquiry with notions of disease (particularly HIV/AIDS) and dissent. My dissertation interconnects these three concepts and examines them in the cultural production of China, Brazil and Romania during periods of transition from authoritarian rules to neoliberal regimes, process which began in 1976 in China, 1985 in Brazil and 1989 in Romania. This analysis situates itself at the intersection of biopolitics and literary studies, bioethics and visual culture, anthropology and medical humanities. I draw inspiration from critics who have developed biopolitical frameworks (Michael Foucault, Roberto Esposito, Melinda Cooper), and conceptual tools of understanding disposability (Judith Butler, Zygmund Baum) and disease (Alvan Ikoku, Adriana Petryna) in relation to structural violence (Paul Farmer, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Joao Biehl, Wang Hui) to support an analytic process that aims to offer a better grasp of the ethics of disposability in relation to disease and dissent during political, economic, social and cultural transitional periods. The figure of the disposable represents a crucial building block for ethical commitments and practices if my project’s framework is enlarged to refugee studies, gender and sexuality studies, or human-environment interaction and influences in the age of climate change.