Pandemic, Crisis, and Modern Studies Twitter Conference: The Intersection of Your Research with the Pandemic/Crisis

Jun Qiang's picture
June 12, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Humanities, Public Health, Public Policy, World History / Studies

Pandemic, Crisis, and Modern Studies:  The Intersection of Your Research with the Pandemic/Crisis

 A Twitter Conference

June 12, 2020

Countervoices, Centre for Modern Studies, University of York

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Fay Bound Alberti (York) & Dr. Beryl Pong (Sheffield)


    Over the past few months, the spread of Covid-19 has profoundly impacted the lives of people around the globe. Whether politically, through the ever-shifting government policies, culturally, by virtual access to cultural artefacts, or socially, through individual isolation, the rapid spread of the pandemic has changed how one lives in the world. Undoubtedly severe as the consequences of the virus are, it boosts new insights into human relation(ship)s, communities, and environment, with imaginative responses such as singing on balconies, and considerable drops in air pollution. For individuals, communication has become confined to the virtual space, forcing us to find original forms of expression. 

   This conference attempts to initiate a robust and meaningful discussion on how the pandemic or crisis shapes our past, present, and future. We invite discussions about the pandemic as a global crisis from passionate and creative intellectuals in different disciplines of modern studies (from 1830 to present). Featuring an opportune interdisciplinary response to the contemporary changes and new experiences brought about by the crisis, this conference will spark new debates over ontological issues, shed new light upon research in humanities and sciences, and engage and inspire a broad range of audiences in and beyond this country.   

    The conference welcomes submissions of abstracts for twitter-papers consisting of 10-15 tweets (with pictures/slides) about the way your studies intersect with the pandemic or crisis. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical and mental health: vulnerability, fragility, illness, health, care, death, and resilience,  therapy, and recovery.

  • Cognition and memory: trauma, recollection, history, erasure, monument, and memorials.

  • Space: architecture, geography, regions, nations, transnation, and the globe.

  • Identities, groups and agents: identities in relation to the crisis (victim, survivor, volunteer, helper, expert, hero, scapegoat, whistleblower, etc.), groups and authorities in operation, effects on particular groups in the population (gender, race, class and human rights), creation of new groups and new identities.

  • Changes and reactions: changes to habits (shopping, behaviour, social norms), cognition, human relationships, cities, businesses, economies, and policies that initiate (or do not initiate) such changes. 

  • Communication and language: rumours, fake news,  instructions, slogans, hashtags, and new words. 

  • Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, utopian/dystopian visions.

  • Material objects and metaphors: necessities (food, toilet roll), tools of self-preservation (masks, hand-sanitizer, vaccines, ventilators, and weapons).

  • Animals and the environment: non-human, ecology, environment, and post-human.

  • Representation in literature, music, art, cinema, documents, archive, or records.

Please send your abstract (200 words), a short bio (50 words), and your twitter account (@XXXX) to by 15 May 2020. Participants will be invited to present their papers (thread of tweets) on 12 June using the hashtag #Cmodspan2020 and tagging the Countervoices (@cmodspgforum1) and CModS (@cmods1) twitter accounts according to the conference programme and handbook, which will be updated at the end of May. We will host the conference and retweet your tweet-papers in a single thread, under the title of the conference. For those who don’t have a twitter account, we can help you tweet your discussion. The best papers presented in this conference, selected according to their quality, novelty, and presentation, will be awarded by CModS. We are grateful to the Centre for Modern Studies for making it possible for us to offer these awards.  
Keynote Speakers: 

Dr. Fay Bound Alberti  ( )works on the history of medicine, gender, emotion, and the body. Her books include Matters of the Heart: History, Medicine and Emotion (2010) and This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture (2016). Her book on the history of loneliness - A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion - was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. Fay was recently awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for her work on the emotional and cultural history of face transplants. She is currently writing a book on faces, ethics, and identity.

Dr Beryl Pong ( joined the School of English at the University of Sheffield as a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in 2016. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge (2014-2016), and before that, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto (2014). She was also a Scholar in Residence at Bader International Study Centre, Herstmonceux Castle during her PhD (2013). She is a commissioning editor for the ‘Modernist Geographies’ section of Literature Compass. She obtained her PhD at the University of Cambridge, her M.Sc at the University of Edinburgh, and her B.A. Honours at Queen’s University. She is the Sheffield lead supervisor on the White Rose College of Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH) network ‘Electronic Soundscapes’ (2018-2021).


Contact Info: 

Countervoices, Centre for Modern Studies PG Forum, University of York