Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

COVID-19 beyond Borders: Rethinking Medical Humanities at the Frontlines

Interdisciplinary online lecture series (1-29 June 2021) & interdisciplinary online conference (6-7 July 2021)

University of Vienna

Scientific Committee

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)

Organising Team:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Pietrzak-Franger (University of Vienna), Prof. Dr. Anna Elsner (University of St. Gallen), Dr. Tamara Radak (University of Vienna), Mag. Rebecca Söregi (University of Vienna), Alina Lange, MA (University of Vienna), Ulrike Zillinger (University of Vienna)

Twitter: #Covid19beyondBorders

The online lecture series and online conference are held in cooperation with the Center for Medical Humanities, University of Zurich. The individual lectures will be conducted via Zoom, and attendance is free of charge.

Recordings of talks held during the online lecture series and the online conference can be found here

Conference schedule

Conference Panel 1: 6 July 2021 1:00 pm CEST

1:00 pm    Opening remarks

2:00 pm

Monika Ankele (Medical University Vienna) / Céline Kaiser (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Ottersberg)

"Transparent boundaries. Material and performative aspects of dynamic boundary control in the context of the COVID19 pandemic"

Kathleen Rice (McGill University)

"'And nobody would hold him': The Implications of COVID-related Barriers to Touching Newborns for Identity, Personhood and Subject Formation"

Key-note Lecture: 6 July 2021 4:00 pm CEST

Kirsten Ostherr (Rice University / University of Texas School of Public Health)

"The Future of Translational Medical Humanities: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic"

Kirsten Ostherr is Director of Medical Humanities at Rice University, Director of Medical Futures Lab at Rice University and Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health.


6:00 - 8:00 pm    Socialising (online)

Conference Panel 2: 7 July 2021 2:00 pm CEST

Lise Saffran (University of Missouri)

"Mapping—and crossing—the boundaries between Medical Humanities and Public Health Humanities"

Elena Denisova-Schmidt (University of St. Gallen HSG / Boston College)

"The Effects of Media Depictions of the COVID-19 Response across Borders"


4:00 pm    Impulse Papers & Joint Podium Discussion

Nikola Biller-Andorno (University of Zurich)

Urs Nater (University of Vienna)

Barbara Prainsack (University of Vienna)

Herwig Swoboda (Medical University Vienna)


6:00 pm    Socialising (online)

Lecture series

Online Lecture 1: 1 June 2021 4:30 pm CEST

Monika Class (Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)

"In the shadows of human health?: The relevance of the 'one health' approach for the medical humanities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic"

Kerstin Weich (Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna)

CANCELLED: "From Spillover to Multispecies Medicine"

Online Lecture 2: 8 June 2021 4:30 pm CEST

Farah YaminiRaymond K. Awadzi / John "Jack" Vertovec (Florida International University)

"Lenses of Compassion: Exploring the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Participatory Photographs Across Borders"

Cindy Smalletz / Joseph H. Eveld (Columbia University)

"Narrative Medicine Without Borders"

Anne Hudson Jones (University of Texas Medical Branch UTMB)

"Bryan Doerries' Theater of War at the Frontlines during COVID-19: How Greek Tragedies Can Help"

CANCELLED: Online Lecture 3: 15 June 2021 4:30 pm CEST

Julia Pröll (University of Innsbruck)

CANCELLED: "Challenging the Re-Nationalization of Memories forced by the COVID-19 pandemic?: Dynamics of Transnational Memory in the Francophone Lockdown Diaries of Nancy Huston, Leïla Slimani and Wajdi Mouawad"

Benjamin Dalton (Paris Nanterre University / New Sorbonne University Paris)

RESCHEDULED: 29 June 2021 (see below) - "Hospitals Beyond Borders: Opening Up Clinical Architectures in Maylis de Kerangal's Réparer les vivants (2013), Katell Quillévéré's Réparer les vivants (2016), and Contemporary French Philosophies of Medicine"

Online Lecture 4: 22 June 2021 4:30 pm CEST

Brie Winnega (University of Texas at Austin)

"'I've seen so many deaths': COVID-19 Nursing Testimony as Literary Caretaking"

Julia Hoydis (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)

"Narrating the COVID-19 Risk Society"

Online Lecture 5: 29 June 2021 4:30 pm CEST

Sofia Varino (University of Potsdam)

"A Viral Ecology: Tracing Planetary Temporalities of Care Across a Pandemic Anthropocene"

Eva Horn (University of Vienna)

"Tipping Points: Covid-19 and the Anthropocene"

Benjamin Dalton (Paris Nanterre University / New Sorbonne University Paris)

"Hospitals Beyond Borders: Opening Up Clinical Architectures in Maylis de Kerangal's Réparer les vivants (2013), Katell Quillévéré's Réparer les vivants (2016), and Contemporary French Philosophies of Medicine"