Being Human in Conversation: On Politics and Plagues

Date / time
Date(s) - 21 May
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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Being Human festival director Professor Sarah Churchwell (University of London) will be in conversation with Dr Kate Kirkpatrick (Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford) and Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge (University of Birmingham) discussing how postwar writers and thinkers who lived through fascism likened it to plagues and funguses that spread virally. As we are all forced to think about infection, viruses, and contamination, what lessons can be learned from writers such as Albert Camus and Hannah Arendt, who first understood that propaganda, fake news, and misinformation are also contagious infections that transmit opportunistically? As people turn to literature, philosophy and history to understand the crises that confront us, do books like Camus’s ‘The Plague’ and Arendt’s ‘Origins of Totalitarianism’ offer useful lessons, confuse the issue, or distract us from political action? How can literature and history provide a frame for understanding the politics of pandemics?

Free, but booking is necessary:  https://beinghumanfestival.org/being-human-in-conversation/

This event is held in association with the Institute of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.