humanities pERSPECTIVES

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed our world. In response to this challenge, we are publishing the pamphlet 13 Perspectives On The Pandemic: Thinking In A State Of Exception. This free publication provides a virtual space for thinkers in the humanities to historically embed and critically interrogate our response to the Covid-19 crisis. We hope it will become a useful part of the academic response to reflect the current moment.

Furthermore we are happy to announce our digital lecture series De Gruyter Corona Talks: Thinking in a State of Exception.

13 perspectives on the pandemic - thinking in a state of exception

In this free pamphlet, humanities scholars from various disciplines come together to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic from their own area-specific points of view. They look into similar crises from past pandemics. They emphasize the importance of memory when dealing with traumatic events. They ask questions like: where are similarities and what are most obvious differences in approaching life during a health crisis? Will life as we know it change dramatically when this is all over? Will digitization be a major focus from now on because of the shift working from home has brought on?

Here’s a selection of the topics covered by our scholars:

  • History can remind us that when faced with global challenges, we need to resist the urge to focus on national solidarities only
  • People everywhere are afraid of disease and death — and now scared that white privileges are in crisis, too
  • The Covid pandemic shows that the existing injustices are heightened in crises
  • The humanities and the study of culture are indispensable, especially given the need for a critical approach to the crisis and the measures taken in response to it


12 perspectives on the pandemic in social sciences


Here’s a snapshot of some of the big ideas discussed in the pamphlet:

  • People want more than statistics when the scale of the crisis calls out for a moral or religious response
  • This virus may be the covert midwife of authoritarian regimes if we are not careful
  • In China, the idea of the monolingual ideology (so prominent in West) was ditched in 48 hours
  • In Europe, the pandemic has amplified the second colonial drain of skills by employing foreign-trained and foreign-born doctors, nurses and medical staff
  • The area of peak globalization is not over

Corona talks


In our digital lecture series De Gruyter Corona Talks: Thinking in a State of Exception we are going to speak with scholars from various disciplines about the different intellectual approaches to take when trying to understand the effects of this global pandemic. 

Join us every thursday at 6pm on YouTube for the upcoming events:

June 18, 2020
Pandemics in Global History.
Dr. Thomas Zimmer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

June 25, 2020
A Crisis of Value. Stoic Responses to the Pandemic.
Tue Emil Öhler Søvsø, Freie Universität Berlin

July 2, 2020
Living through a Pandemic. The Spanish Flu and Covid-19.
Dr. Ida Milne, Carlow College, St Patrick's

July 9, 2020
Covid-19 and World War One Nursing.
Dr. Viv Newman, University of Essex

July 16, 2020
Dangerous Comparisons. Historical Pandemics and Covid-19.
Dr. Merle Eisenberg, Princeton University