COVID-19: Essential Information

Humanities During COVID-19

A list of articles, blogs, and other media about humanistic inquiry and work related to and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rereading Arrowsmith in the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 26, 2020

Journal of the American Medical Association - Examines the ongoing relevance of Sinclair Lewis’ 1925 novel Arrowsmith to unresolved questions of research, treatment, prevention, and mitigation of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Oedipus and the Coronavirus Pandemic

June 9, 2020

Journal of the American Medical Association- Drawing lessons from Sophocles’ classic tragedies Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus about the limits of medicine and the importance of community in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Germs that Transformed History

May 22, 2020

Wall Street JournalFor eons, epidemics have caused mass deaths and social upheaval, with far-reaching effects on politics, trade, migration, colonization and conquest.

This is No Time to Read Alone

May 20, 2020

New York Times - In lockdown and through our screens, we’re reminded of all that’s special and strange about group reading: a solitary, private act made public.

The Rise of the Chaplains

May 17, 2020

The Atlantic - Their grandparents may have gone to church. But today, many Americans turn elsewhere to meet their spiritual needs.

A Ramadan and Eid in Isolation

May 16, 2020

The Atlantic - Novelist Uzma Jalaludin tries to help her family find their own special connection to the holy month this year. 

Looking at Albert Camus’s “The Plague”

May 15, 2020

New York Times - In 1948, Stephen Spender wrote for the Book Review about Albert Camus’s “The Plague,” a novel about an epidemic spreading across the French Algerian city of Oran.

Our Fever for Plague Movies

May 15, 2020

The New YorkerWhy do we crave fables of sickness when so many of us are sick, or devising ingenious ways to remain non-sick?

Busting Myths and Misinformation During a Pandemic

May 14, 2020

University of California Irvine Webinar - Two UCI professors of philosophy discuss the origins and spread of misinformation as well as tips for discerning what is credible information in this free, half-hour webinar. 

Pandemics Go Hand in Hand with Conspiracy Theories

May 13, 2020

The New YorkerFor more than a century, America didn’t know that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitos. Much remains unknown in medicine, creating fertile ground for fear.

COVID-19 and Health Equity- A New Kind of “Herd Immunity”

May 11, 2020

JAMA Network - Dr. David Williams of Harvard's T. H. Chan School of Public Health provides insight into the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and outlines ways to flatten the curve of racial disparities in healthcare

How Pandemics End

May 10, 2020

New York Times - An infectious outbreak can conclude in more ways than one, historians say. But for whom does it end, and who gets to decide?

What Shakespeare Actually Wrote About the Plague

May 7, 2020

The New Yorker - In the works of the playwright, who lived his entire life in the shadow of bubonic plague, epidemic disease is present as a steady undertone, surfacing most vividly in everyday exclamations of rage and disgust.

We Share What We Exhale

May 1, 2020

The Times Literary Supplement - Georgetown University Japanese history professor Jordan Sand analyzes the cultural differences between the United States and East Asia with respect to mask-wearing and historical understandings of disease. 

The Spiritual Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic with Greg Reichberg and friends

April 28, 2020

The Absolutes - This episode features the podcast host Greg Reichberg in a conversation with two friends, Trond Bakkevig and Henrik Syse, about the spiritual implications of the coronavirus pandemic. The conversation took place in Oslo on Saturday of Easter week, with the friends in their respective homes, due to social distancing requirements.

TikTok in the Time of Coronavirus

April 26, 2020

The Guardian - The sublime and the serious, the silly and the strange: how TikTok has become the perfect platform for these times.

Why We Should All Be Keeping Coronavirus Journals

April 21, 2020

Time - Historian Katherine Sharo Landdeck discusses the importance of journals as a means for future historians to understand individual perspectives and sentiments during a time period.

Embracing the Chaotic Side of Zoom

April 20, 2020

The New Yorker - In a time of social distancing, our background noises, bathrobes, and other bloopers can be unexpected sources of connection.

Black Skin, White Masks: Racism, Vulnerability & Refuting Black Pathology

April 15, 2020

Princeton University Webinar - Princeton African-American Studies professor Ruha Benjamin delivers a free, half-hour webinar about the disproportionate burden people of color bear with respect to COVID-19, as well as the myriad ways communities of color are engendering justice and joy in this difficult time. 

Quarantine in Nineteenth-Century New York

April 14, 2020

The New York Academy of Medicine - Lorna Ebner, a historian at Stony Brook University, describes historical attempts to mitigate disease in New York City. 

Jawdet and Huda Fakhreddine, Lebanon & USA

April 13, 2020

Warscapes Corona Notebooks - Former Middlebury professor Huda Fakhreddine – now Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Pennsylvania – translates the Pandemic Poetry of her renowned poet-father: Jawdet Fakhreddine.

Why Do Balconies Inspire Us?

April 10, 2020

BBC - Balconies have always been designed to captivate and inspire the masses. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve taken on a newfound importance.

King Lear Under COVID-19 Lockdown

April 10, 2020

JAMA Network - Reimagining an iconic Shakespearean work’s relevance in the time of coronavirus, from the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

What Can We Learn from the Art of Pandemics Past?

April 8, 2020

New York Times Style Magazine - From the playground game ring-around-the-rosy to the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, the scars of illnesses throughout history are still visible today.

Eating In: A Series from the Counter

April 8, 2020

A series of short essays about how COVID-19 has changed everyday life in the US and how those changes are manifested in food.


Staying Inside Guide: Art History for All Ages

April 3, 2020

The Wall Street Journal - Even though schools and museums are shut down, curious kids can still engage with the arts. The Wall Street Journal has collected a variety of online resources to introduce children (and adults) to art history. 

Personal Risk and Societal Obligation During COVID-19

April 3, 2020

Journal of the American Medial Association - A physician with preexisting health conditions contemplates the morality of self-isolation during a period when doctors are expected to put their patients first.

National Center for Transgender Equality COVID-19 Guide

April 3, 2020

A guide for trans folks and allies on preparing for COVID-19 that includes resources on finding affirming medical care, housing, and mental healthcare, as well as mutual aid funds that support the trans community.


The Pandemic is a Portal

April 3, 2020

Financial Times - Novelist Arundhati Roy on how coronavirus threatens India and what the country-and the world- should do next

Plague and Empire

April 3, 2020

Middle East Monitor - A Timely Look at the Ottoman Experience of Epidemics.

Community Care: An Indigenous Response to Coronavirus

March 30, 2020

Yes Magazine - Jade Begay, a Yes Magazine contributor of Diné and Pueblo descent, writes about the necessity of decolonizing from individualism and reconnecting with ways of community care. 

A Jewish Amulet Against Plague

March 29, 2020

Feminism and ReligionInterpreting a 19th century Hebrew amulet for protection against cholera.

Gasping for Air in the Time of COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Sapiens MagazineThe coronavirus has cleared the air in many of China’s polluted industrial centers, but can this trend be maintained?


Fasting from Communion in a Pandemic

March 17, 2020

Public Orthodoxy - An Orthodox priest examines the reasoning behind the belief that the coronavirus cannot be transmitted through holy communion. 

What Coronavirus Means for Food Insecurity

March 17, 2020

 The Hill - Daphne Hernandez, a nursing professor and food insecurity researcher at UT-Houston, outlines the problems that COVID-19 could pose for people who struggle with food insecurity, and offers several possible solutions. 


How Pandemics Change History

March 3, 2020

The New Yorker - Yale History of Medicine professor Frank M. Snowden examines the cultural and political implications of epidemics.

The Jail Health-Center Crisis

February 25, 2019

The New Yorker explores how medical policies in the criminal justice system may contribute to epidemics in correctional facilities.



Co-Director of the Axinn Center for the Humanities
Febe Armanios
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Co-Director of the Axinn Center for the Humanities
Marion Wells
Axinn Center at Starr Library Office: 313

Coordinator for the Axinn Center for the Humanities
Mirjam Brett
Mahaney Arts Center
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