The COVID-19 epidemic has starkly illuminated a series of structural forces in health and society that produce endemic disparities. As a result, older questions of inequalities, social relations, and political and economic ideology are now occurring in direct conversation with current issues associated with health and health care systems. The Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine at Johns Hopkins seeks to use this moment to bring scholars together for a yearlong discussion on the role of the COVID-19 epidemic in raising questions of wider importance to the social sciences and the humanities, and vice versa.
Over the last year, we have witnessed nearly all academic disciplines transform to encounter the effects of COVID-19 on their particular research domains. While some of this work has been of key and critical value, for those who have been engaged in these areas of study for some time, the novelty of the effects COVID-19 is having on our world may not be so novel at all. Where medical and public health fields have refocused their lenses to the current pandemic, the social sciences and humanities are seeing the ways in which COVID-19 has exposed in stark contrast so many dynamics that may have been hidden before. As we have learned time and time again, epidemics do not necessarily produce new social, political, or health phenomena but rather they bring to the surface long-simmering dynamics and inequities that may have gone underappreciated until now. The goal of Epidemic/Endemic is to effect conversations between scholars across all disciplines of health, humanities, and social sciences to understand between us how COVID-19 is changing the ways we think about our work or shedding light on key issues which were less evident to those working outside of particular fields of research. The project wishes to bring together researchers from across widely differing disciplines in monthly conversation to think deeply from multiple perspectives about the intellectual questions that our current moment is amplifying. Taking eight key areas as the basis for monthly meetings we hope to generate sustained discussion on these topics, learn from one another and think more deeply about our current moment.
Explore the Humanities pathways that led to this project
Baltimore, Maryland, USA