The arts and humanities in the year of the pandemic, 2020-21
Edited by Stella Bruzzi and Maurice Biriotti
Lockdown Cultures is both a cultural response to our extraordinary times and a manifesto for the arts and humanities and their role in our post-pandemic society.
This book offers a unique response to the question of how the humanities have responded to the dominant crisis of our times: the Covid-19 pandemic. While the role of engineers, epidemiologists and, of course, medics is assumed, Lockdown Cultures illustrates some of the ways in which the humanities understood and analysed 2020–21, the year of lockdown and plague. Though the impulse behind the book was topical, underpinning the richly varied and individual essays is a lasting concern with the value of the humanities in the twenty-first century. Each contributor approaches this differently but there are two dominant strands: how art and culture can help us understand the Covid crisis; and how the value of the humanities can be demonstrated by engaging with cultural products from the past.
The result is a book that serves as testament to the humanities’ reinvigorated and reforged sense of identity, from the perspective of UCL, one of the leading arts and humanities faculties in the world. It bears witness to a globally impactful event while showcasing interdisciplinary thinking and examining how the pandemic has changed how we read, watch, write and educate. More than thirty individual contributions collectively reassert the importance of the arts and humanities for contemporary society.
Stella Bruzzi, FBA is Dean of Arts and Humanities at UCL. Maurice Biriotti is Professor of Applied Humanities at UCL.
List of Figures
List of Contributors
Part I: Politics
1 ‘Give me liberty or death’.
2 Translating Covid-19 information into Yiddish for the Montreal-area Hasidic community.
Lily Kahn, Zoë Belk, Kriszta Eszter Szendrői, and Sonya Yampolskaya
3 Shakespeare and the plague of productivity.
4 Decolonial option and the end of the world
5 Community building and creative practice within UK DIY cultures during Covid-19.
6 Now are we cyborgs? Affinities and technology in the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Emily Baker and Annie Ring
Part II: History
7 Pathogens in ancient Mesopotamia.
Markham J. Geller
8 Producing and accepting new knowledge in Jens Bjørneboe’s Semmelweis (1968).
9 Ethnic Germans in Britain 1914–18.
10 Withdrawn and still engaged: Cicero.
11 The Gallic Sack of Rome
12 On Spinalonga
Part III: Performance, identity and the screen
13 ‘The thing itself’
14 Towards a new history: The corona-seminar and the drag king virus.
15 ‘In spite of the tennis’: Beckett’s sporting apocalypse’
16 Screening dislocated despair: Projecting the neoliberal left-behinds in 100 Flowers Hidden Deep
Nashuyuan Serenity Wang
17 A digital film for digital times: Some lockdown thoughts on Gravity.
Stephen M. Hart
18 The Great Plague: London’s Dreaded Visitation, 1665
Part IV: Literature and writing
19 Lessons for lockdown from Thomas
Mann’s The Magic Mountain
20 The locked room: On reading crime fiction during the Covid-19 pandemic
21 The weight of the shrinking world.
22 A voice-mail lyric for a discipline in crisis: On Ben Lerner’s ‘The Media’
Matthew James Holman
23 20,000 leagues under confinement.
24 Reflections on Guixiu literary cultures in East Asia
Part V: Personal reflections
26 Lockdown cultures: A room of one’s own
27 Historical dreaming
28 In pursuit of blandness: On re-reading Jullien’s In Praise of Blandness during lockdown
29 Blinded Lights: Going viral during the Covid-19 pandemic
Part VI: Visual responses
Morphologies of agents of the pandemic
David Burrows and SMRU (The Social Morphologies Research Unit) (Martin Holbraad, John Cussans, Kelly Fagan Robinson, Melanie Jackson, Dean Kenning, Inigo Minns, Lucy Sames, Hermione Spriggs, Mary Yacoob)
John Thomson and Alison Craighead
32 Gospel Oak
33 I have a studio (visit) therefore I exist
Carey Young, Alice Channer, Anne Hardy and Karin Ruggaber
35 After a long time or a short time
Elisabeth S. Clark
36 When the Roof Blew Off
Size: 234 × 156 mm
Copyright: © 2022
Publication: October 03, 2022
Series: Comparative Literature and Culture