Rupert Reading Session #5 Rowena Harris: When the sick rule the post-covid world

The fifth of Rupert’s online reading sessions will take place on Zoom, 19th of August, from 19:00 EEST.

In this session artist-researcher Rowena Harris will lead a reading session as a way to explore, positively, how to learn from experiences of chronic illness for the times of Covid-19. Chronic illness will be more present as a result of the pandemic – both in terms of individuals who experience a longhaul version, and on a societal level, where, without a cure, we are left collectively managing illness which seems to flare. C-19 is making ever more obvious the saying – there are two types of people in the world: those who are ill or disabled, and those who are not yet. Engaged through three texts, The End of Normal, 2013, by dis/ability scholar Lennard J Davis; When the Sick Rule the World, 2015, non-fiction prose by Dodie Bellamy; and a recent article on Covid-longhaul by journalist Ed Yong, the reading session is framed in appreciation that people who were sick long before C-19, know best how to live differently again when normal is taken away. It seeks to engage an open, generative discussion, as a way to think with ill and dis/abled perspectives that know this condition best. If the sick were to rule, as Bellamy requests, then perhaps, as an agenda grander then the reading session, we’d arrive to non-normal, non-ableist, positively diverse ways to live together again without returning to the problematic normal that once was.

There will be a maximum of 15 registrations for the reading session, selected on a first come first serve basis. Extracts from the texts and a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.

Session Texts:

The End of Normal
2013, Lennard J. Davis. The End of Normal. Identity in a Biocultural Era, The University of Michigan Press, US – Chapter 1, p.1-14

When the Sick Rule the World
2015, Dodie Bellamy. When the Sick Rule the World. Semiotext(e), US – Chapter 2, p.25-36

2020, Ed Yong. Covid-19 Can Last for Several Months, The Atlantic, online:

Further background reading:

2020, Sam Pearce. #LonghaulersUnite, Africa Clockwise (blog), 22 July 2020.

2020, covid-longhaul patient led research, What Does COVID-19 Recovery Actually Look Like? online:

2016, Johanna Hedva. Sick Woman Theory, Mask Magazine (blog)

2013, Christine Miserandino. The Spoon Theory,

2006, Joseph Dumit. Illnesses You Have to Fight to Get: Facts as Forces in Uncertain, Emergent Illnesses. Social Science & Medicine, Patient Organisation Movements, 62, no. 3: 577–90.


Rupert’s activities are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.