Pandemic Perspectives 2021: Reflections on the Post-Covid World

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This one-day virtual conference will engage with the cultural, political, economic, and societal implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the post-Covid future, we aim to explore the historical and epistemological contexts of the global response, the pandemic’s potential ramifications in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and how the virus has altered society at large.

Schedule for the Conference:

10:00 to 10:15 Welcome Address - David Christie (University of Birmingham)

10:15 to 11:00 Keynote 1: Reimagining Democracy: An Interactive Presentation

Prof Kalypso Nicolaidis – University of Oxford

11:00 to 12:00 Session 1: Inequalities (Chair: Hanan Fara)

Responding to the Covid-19 Crisis: Towards Greater Inclusion and Representation in Literature?

Amélie Doche – Birmingham City University

Pandemic, Dystopian Fiction, and Increasing Vulnerabilities and Inequalities: A Reading of Samit Basu’s Chosen Spirits

Anindita Shome – University of Hyderabad

COVID-19 & Women’s Health – New Pandemic, Old Problems

Dr Michael Rimmer – University of Edinburgh

12:00 to 12:15 Break

12:15 to 13:15 Session 2: Covid-19 and Culture (Chair: Richard Kendall)

Plague Fiction: Reading About Pandemics During COVID-19

Amanda Grimsbo Roswall – University of Copenhagen

Pandemic History and the Medicine of Laughter in the BBC’s Upstart Crow: Lockdown Christmas 1603

William David Green – University of Birmingham

Oedipus in the Times of COVID

Charlotte 'Lottie' Parkyn – University of Notre Dame

13:15 to 13:45 Lunch Break

13:45 to 14:45 Session 3: State Politics (Chair: Ronan Love)

Political Ecology & Pandemic Futurity

Rob Booth – University of Birmingham

The Unsettled Church and State: The Case Shincheonji and COVID-19 in South Korea

Mary Briggs – University of Edinburgh

Socially Transformative Experiences: The Case of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gah-Kai Leung – University of Warwick

14:45 to 15:00 Break

15:00 to 16:00 Session 4: Space and (Dis)Placement (Chair: Niall Gallen)

Digitally Archiving Pandemic Design on Design in Quarantine

Anna Talley and Fleur Elkerton – Design in Quarantine

The Office is Dead! Long Live the Office!: The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of Office Spaces

Petra Seitz – University College London

The Impact of Remote Teaching on Student Confidence and Results

Cressida Ryan – University of Oxford

16:00 to 16:15 Break

16:15 to 17:15 Session 5: Language of Covid-19 (Chair: Sadegh Attari)

Covid-19 and Its Metaphors

Michael Meznar – University of Toronto

Pandemic under the Magnifying Glass: An Assessment of COVID-19-Related Media Articles from an Economic Perspective Using State-of-the-art Natural Language Processing Techniques

Dr Guang Lu, Dr Martin Businger, Dr Matthes Fleck – Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Superlatives around the Hearth: The Government’s Rhetoric on Household Mixing during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Victoria Beatrix Fendel – University of Oxford

17:15 to 18:15 Keynote 2:Translational Futures

Dr Marta Arnaldi – University of Oxford

18:15 Closing Remarks

Please visit for more information.

The Pandemic Perspectives group was founded in April 2020 by AHRC Midlands4Cities PhD researcher David Christie (University of Birmingham). Its aim from the outset was to bring together the expertise and insight of scholars from across the full range of the humanities to attempt the vital task of comprehending the complexities of the global pandemic’s impact.

Originally made up of doctoral researchers from the M4C cohort, it has evolved into an international network of historians, philosophers, literature researchers, political scientists and sociologists. Debating a specific aspect of the pandemic’s impact every week since its inception has demonstrated to the group the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and revealed the unique contribution that an individual’s specialist research can make to our understanding of the complexities of the pandemic’s impact.

To open up that debate to as wide as possible a range of scholars, the group decided to organise this conference. The range of disciplines and topics of those presenting on 20th April is testament to the vital contribution the humanities have to make in understanding both contemporary events and the potential shape of the post-pandemic world.

For further information about Pandemic Perspectives, please visit our website ( and Twitter page (@Pandemic_Persp).

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