Spring 2020

As the world grapples to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, this special series of workshops will explore the impact of the pandemic on democracies worldwide. The workshops are organised by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute in partnership with the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. These events are part of the Crises of Democracy project.

As large gatherings of people are prohibited under the measures introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19, for many the established means of debate and protest have been constrained. At the same time, decision-making processes are increasingly opaque. For those historically marginalised, civic engagement is becoming even more difficult. The pandemic is creating new difficulties for democracies while exposing chronic, long-term challenges.

The fourth in a five-part series, this workshop will examine the implications of the Covid-19 on the everyday. Our speakers will discuss their daily lockdown routines, how their work has been shaped by the pandemic and why walking is a superpower. The floor will then be open for participants to respond: to ask questions and to widen the parameters of the conversation.

The third in a five-part series, this workshop will interrogate the role of inequality in the Covid-19 public health emergency. Our speakers will explore issues related to class, gender, race, sexuality and religion as well as attempts to assign blame and scapegoat. Looking to the future, they will also discuss the need for a broad project of and commitment to equality. The floor will then be open for participants to respond: to ask questions and to widen the parameters of the conversation.

The second in a five-part series, this workshop will explore how Covid-19 is affecting those on the margins of society. Our speakers will discuss the pandemic in relation to criminal justice systems and examine issues concerning ageism, the care sector and economic policy. They will address the potential human rights implications and consider how the virus might be used as an opportunity to change attitudes, implement reform and build better, more inclusive societies.The floor will then be open for participants to respond: to ask questions and to widen the parameters of the conversation.

The first in a five-part series, this workshop will explore how Covid-19 is changing how we think about nations and borders. Our speakers will discuss the pandemic in relation to US immigration law, border politics and international refugee policy. They will examine the crisis in the context of Irish/Northern Irish cross-border cooperation and British-Irish cooperation. The floor will then be open for participants to respond: to ask questions and to widen the conceptual and geographical parameters of the conversation.

Social distancing, cocooning, and ‘lockdown’ measures implemented worldwide to stall the spread of Covid-19 have raised questions about what the absence of public life means for democracy. We have also seen a range of emergency powers introduced by governments trying to manage social order during this time. Our international panel will discuss the politics and policies of disease prevention and control, how the absence of public life might impact on those on the margins of our societies, and what we might learn from plague and democracy in classical Greece.

View the full history of lectures for Rethinking Democracy in an Age of Pandemic.

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