Quarantine(d) Conversations

IU Faculty Experts Tackle COVID-19

Spring 2020

Quarantine(d) Conversations was a series of A&H talks and presentations about COVID-19 and related phenomena. The program showed how the arts and humanities can provide useful perspectives and frameworks for understanding and addressing the current historical crisis. The talks covered everything from the disease itself to its historical, cultural, social, and experiential dimensions. Each one began with a significant object (a poem, painting, a city, a mask, an egg carton, etc.) and expand from there. This object-based approach gave our public audience a much-needed hook to access the ideas in the talk and potentially discuss and share them with others.

Panelists included faculty from IU Bloomington, IUPUI, and other experts from around the Hoosier state, chosen in collaboration with Indiana Humanities

Historical Precedents

  • Colin Elliott (History, IUB): On the Antonine plague of Rome and the privilege of quarantine.
  • Ann G. Carmichael (History, IUB): On the Italian Plague of 1629-1631, public memory, and the scales of great epidemics.
  • Kalani Craig (History, IUB): On the Black Death and computer simulations of plague.
  • William H. Schneider (History, IUPUI): On lessons learned from HIV/AIDS.

Suffering and Solitude

  • Deborah Cohn (Spanish & Portuguese, IUB): On Gabriel García Márquez, Plagues, and (the Politics of) Solitude.
  • Shannon Gayk (English, IUB): On Hermits, self-distancing, and the cultivation of the inner life.
  • Christoph Irmscher (English, IUB): On Walt Whitman’s experiences and poetry of mass suffering and death during the Civil War.
  • Kenzie Latham Mintus (Sociology, IUPUI): On the COVID-19 experiences of aging and the elderly.

Social Life and Its Negation

Mobilizing Creativity and the Arts in Times of Crisis

  • Christin Cato (Playwrighting, IUB): Original micro-plays about the daily experience of COVID-19.
  • Ryan Mandell (Eskenazi School, IUB): On the School of Art’s N95 mask project
  • Sarah Knott (History, IUB) & Carrie Schwier (Libraries, IU): On the COVID-19 Diary Project.

Representing Illness, Contagion, and Death

  • Patty Ingham (English, IUB): On the literature of contagion and its emotional resonance.
  • Linda Charnes (English, IUB): On the epidemiology of political disease in Hamlet.
  • Jennifer McComas (Eskenazi Museum of Art, IUB): On the religious portrayal of death and mortality in Western art.

Humanism, Public Policy, and Medical Practice

  • Emily Beckman (Medical Humanities and Health Studies, IUPUI): On empathy, patient care, and humanistic training for healthcare professionals.
  • Krista Hoffmann-Longtin (Communication Studies, IUPUI): On doctor-patient communication in the era of COVID-19.
  • Anne Beeson Royalty (Economics, IUPUI): On successful health care policies from an international perspective.

Race, Nation, and the Politics of Plague

  • Ellen Wu (History, IUB): On racism, racial production, and the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans in the time of COVID-19.
  • Johannes Turk (Germanic Studies, IUB): On sovereignty, immunity, and exemption from a bio-political perspective.
  • Michelle Moyd (History, IUB): On Survival, Expendability, Black Life and Death in COVID-19.