Call for Papers: "COVID-19 beyond Borders: Rethinking Medical Humanities at the Frontlines"

06.07.2021 09:00

6 - 9 July 2021

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Pietrzak-Franger (University of Vienna), Prof. Dr. Anna Elsner (University of St. Gallen), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schütz (Medical University of Vienna) and Dr. Felicitas Seebacher (ÖAW)

Call for Papers

This conference explores the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on borders. In most Western countries, borders have seemingly disappeared or become permeable to facilitate global mobility and the circularity of goods. With countries limiting nonessential travel and closing their borders to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, national borders have re-emerged as confining realities. As the Polish Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk has poignantly put it, "the virus reminds us: borders exist, and they're doing just fine." At the same time, experts across science and politics have repeatedly emphasized that the "the virus knows no borders," seeking to emphasize that COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can travel around the world at unprecedented speed and with no respect for national frontiers. And yet, it is national, social and cultural borders, borders between generations and risk groups that can explain why COVID-19 has been confronted differently across countries, cultures and societies.

The impacts of the pandemic and of public health measures undertaken to stop its spread have made clear that the Medical Humanities have a key role to play when it comes to making visible the invisible borders accentuated by COVID-19.