Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Crisis (2020-22)

Our theme for the academic years 2020-22 is 'Crisis'

When we chose the theme of "crisis" in early 2020, we did not yet know the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a few weeks, however, it was clear that this new virus would pose the biggest challenge to the politics of global health for decades, and that it would precipitate a severe financial crisis.

Faced with the urgency of this situation, our choice of theme for the next two years invites us to consider past crises and their echoes in the present. What, if anything, can we learn from previous recessions and pandemics that have scarred the modern world? What sorts of outcomes can we expect in the light of local, regional and global patterns of economic and social development? And how might we imagine alternative, post-COVID 19 futures? As always, we believe that the history of the modern world has much to teach us about our present predicaments, and we hope that we can showcase some of the exciting work that is being done, both in response to the current crisis and entirely independently of it.

Some of the topics we plan to address are:

A US repatriation flight during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020
A US repatriation flight during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020
  • Crises as watershed moments
  • The COVID-19 crisis
  • Recovery from crisis and the imaginations that emerge during and after crises
  • The languages and rhetorics of crisis
  • The environmental and climate crisis
  • Temporalities of crisis
  • Generational crisis
  • Globalisation, capitalism and economic crisis, including debt crises and "shock" doctrines
  • Crisis and cover-ups
  • Pandemics, healthcare, sanitation and disease crises
  • Epistemological crisis
  • The intellectual history of crisis
  • The Marxist tradition of crisis
  • The European “migrant crisis”.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have exceptionally decided to extend our theme over two years so that we can develop a range of activities that are appropriate to the new, rapidly changing circumstances. We hope you will join us for an exciting programme of events, online in the first instance and - when conditions allow - also in-person.