The Institute’s Colloquium occurs once per month during the academic year. No prior reading or preparation is required for this event series.
Crisis and Capacity: Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Several months have passed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. People have experienced the effects of the virus’ rapid global spread: the politicization of medicine, worldwide shortages of and bidding wars for protective equipment, disputes and uneven public health messaging about prevention and treatments, disproportionate distributions of health risks in populations, and mass mortality. While many issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak are dealt with by scientists and health practitioners—such as the search for treatments and cures—other concerns command the expertise of scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
During the pandemic, the History of Science ON CALL project at the MPIWG has therefore striven to amplify voices from disciplines such as history, sociology, literature, and anthropology, which provide crucial capacity and perspective for scholarly and public understanding. The project has required us to pay close attention to the developing discourse in the international academic community during the pandemic. This has exposed an opportunity to proactively facilitate a conversation in Europe—and particularly in Germany—that articulates the critical role of the humanities and social sciences in times of crisis.
The Institute’s Colloquium 2020/21 will therefore comprise a program that facilitates conversations around how humanities and social sciences scholars might deliberately or inadvertently form a long view of critical contemporary issues. The series has two key aims:
Normalize reflexive intellectual discussions about challenging topics about inequalities such as race or gender, with a particular focus on fostering positive local impact
Connect to other dialogues within and beyond Berlin about plural histories and sociologies of chronic and acute crises
Ultimately, the program seeks to bring to the fore various insights into local, regional, and international cooperation and academic work prompted by Covid-19.