To mark the launch of the Medical Humanities major at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, we are proposing an inaugural virtual series, “Medical Humanities and Pandemic Urbanisms,” which will serve as an essential rallying point for Columbia faculty, current students, and alumni of the Medicine, Literature and Society track. While urban life has been overturned by the pandemic, this crisis invites us to think more broadly how the urban is an emergent form that can be redesigned to promote life and human flourishing. Featuring scholars, activists and artists from a range of fields—from epidemiology to science fiction to urban planning—the series will both illustrate the imaginative possibilities of the Medical Humanities, while also grounding its activities in the community-building work of students at Columbia University in the City of New York.
The series begins with opening keynotes by Ari Larissa Heinrich on the long history of anti-Asian bias in epidemic—culminating with Covid-19. Zeynep Tufekci will present a second keynote on the pandemic and the city. Over the following weeks, we will host a series of events, such as panels on indoor/outdoor urban spaces and indigenous urban activism, and a book panel that considers the Covid-19 pandemic in its historical and imperial context. We will host a design challenge led by guest faculty facilitators and alumni of Medicine, Literature and Society, with a prize for the best student contribution. And lastly, we will elaborate on the theme of utopian imagination with a final roundtable event featuring BIPOC fantasy writers in the academy.
This event celebrates the launch of our new Medical Humanities major. Learn more about the major here.
Medical Humanities and Pandemic Urbanisms is co sponsored by Center for Science and Society, Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia Global Centers, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature, and the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics.