With approximately one-fifth of the world’s population currently in
lockdown, the novel coronavirus (COVID–19) pandemic has drastically
changed many of our lives. According to official statistics, the virus
has now infected over one million individuals across 209 countries and
territories, and such draconian measures are likely to have saved
countless lives. But, the effects of the virus reach far beyond its
biological capacity to cause illness. Originating in Wuhan, China, its
rapid spread across national boundaries has drawn attention to the
porous and interconnected world that we live in. The resulting economic
consequences of the lockdown measures highlight the volatility of the
global economy and the precarity of those whose labour sustains it. At
the same time, it has transformed the way we interact with one another
and understand ourselves, as new forms of creativity and solidarity
emerge. In the time of coronavirus, both critical cultural analysis and
sustained personal reflection are needed more than ever to put these
emerging new realities into perspective.
Several leading intellectuals have already published their views on the
coronavirus pandemic. Judith Butler, for one, has considered
the pandemic lays bare the radical inequalities inherent to global
capitalism, drawing particular attention to the fraught politics of
healthcare in the United States. Elsewhere, David Harvey has examined
the broader repercussions for the dynamics of global capital
accumulation; modes of consumerism that have long underpinned Western
economies are now crashing before our very eyes, he says, and with
potentially devastating consequences. On the other hand, philosopher
Giorgio Agamben has come under criticism
for his dismissal of the pandemic as a manufactured “state of
exception,” aimed at facilitating a project of total control by
governments and corporations, while denying the harsh reality of
For the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, students at The Lisbon
Consortium encourage scholars, artists and other cultural practitioners
to reflect further on the multifarious impacts of this bewildering new
reality. To facilitate this, we are launching a new website, Culture in
publish critical writing, visual essays and other creative responses to
the pandemic over the coming weeks. Later, the website will remain
online to serve as an archive of our collective thoughts and experiences.
We welcome contributions of any length in the following formats:
Personal reflections, cultural critique and analysis, adaptations or
excerpts of larger research projects. Please write for a general
audience and avoid too much academic jargon.
Creative responses to the coronavirus pandemic, including prose and
poetry of all genres.
- Visual essays
All combinations of photography (or other visual material) and text are
welcomed. Please indicate any specific layout requirements and we will
try to accommodate.
Please also include a short biography of no more than 100 words.
Send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
published at www.cultureinquarantine.co
The virus diaries and prophercies
In the first part of the second chapter of The Virus Diaries, Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli tries to construct a genealogy of a popular policy concept: ‘social distancing’
In the second part of Chapter 2 of The Virus Diaries Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli considers how the COVID-19 crisis exemplifies the consolidation of new Western styles of societal control matching populist bravado with an attack on professional expertise.
Professor Lapointe is looking at tourism from the mobility angle to raise questions about the post-COVID-19 era
Dr Ipek Demir considers the role COVID-19’s Eastern origins played in official UK and other Western policy inaction.
Radical Open Access Collective (http://radicaloa.
Open Humanities Press (http://www.
Librería Latinoamericana at Clacso: The Latin American Council of Social Sciences (https://www.clacso.org.ar/
But there are many other radical open access publishers, journals and platforms where you can find books and articles for free, such as Mattering Press, punctum books, Ephemera, limn, Fibreculture, Goldsmiths Press, tripleC, Minor Compositions, Journal of Peer Production… all accessible via this list: http://radicaloa.
At the other end of the scale – depending on how ‘alternative’ you want to get – there are shadow libraries (online libraries/art projects that arguably have the same objectives as public libraries):
Library Genesis: Online repository with over a million user-contributed books.
Memory of the World: Contains more than 150,000 titles.
Monoskop: Wiki, blog and a repository relating to the arts, media, humanities, theory and activism.
UbuWeb: Largest non-profit online archive of avant-garde art and related materials.
I’ve adapted the above info from the Gendersec page on how to build a digital feminist library. It contains links to all of the above as well as other useful curricula material (much of it in English, Spanish and Portuguese). It’s available here: https://gendersec.
There are also many resources and texts focusing on the Coronavirus situation here: https://syllabus.pirate.care/
The last bit may be a bit obvious for many colleagues, but there’s also the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/ ) – a non-profit library of millions of free books (including literature), movies, software, music, websites….