This book is a collective journal of the COVID-19 pandemic. With first-hand accounts of the pandemic as it unfolded, it explores the social and the political through the lens of the outbreak. Featuring contributors located in India, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Bulgaria, the book presents us with simultaneous multiple histories of our time.
The volume documents the beginning of social distancing and lockdown measures adopted by countries around the world and analyses how these bore upon prevailing social conditions in specific locations. It presents the authors’ personal observations in a lucid conversational style as they reflect on themes such as the reorganization of political debates and issues, the experience of the marginalized, theodicy, government policy responses, and shifts into digital space under lockdown, all of these under an overarching narrative of the healthcare and economic crisis facing the world.
A unique and engaging contribution, this book will be useful to students and researchers of sociology, public health, political economy, public policy, and comparative politics. It will also appeal to general readers interested in pandemic literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Contagion and Questions 2. Social Distancing 3. Lockdown 4. Suspension of Politics 5. Of Protests 6. The Poor and the Way Out 7. Religion 8. Exception and Emergency 9. Real and Digital Space 10. Tax the Rich
Suman Gupta is Professor of Literature and Cultural History at the Open University, UK. His recent publications include Digital India and the Poor: Policy, Technology and Society (2020) and What Is AI?: A Conversation between an AI Engineer and a Humanities Researcher (co-authored with Peter H. Tu, 2020).
Richard Allen is Emeritus Professor of English at The Open University, UK. With Harish Trivedi, he wrote and edited Literature and Nation: Britain and India 1800–1990 (2000), and with Suman Gupta and others, he co-authored Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (2015).
Maitrayee Basu is Lecturer in Communications and Media at the University of the Arts (UAL), London, UK. Her current research is in the field of digital media cultures, digital identities and political contestations, and digital research methods.
Fabio Akcelrud Durão is Professor of Literary Theory at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil. He is the author of Modernism and Coherence (2008), Teoria (literária) americana (2011), Fragmentos Reunidos (2015), and Metodologia de Pesquisa em Literatura (2020), among others.
Ayan-Yue Gupta has a BA (Hons) in art history and philosophy from the University of Leeds and an MA in fine art from the Slade UCL and is currently a PhD sociology student at the University of Bristol, UK. He has published a co-authored paper in Policy Studies.
Milena Katsarska is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Culture Studies at the Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Recent publications include the co-authored volume Usurping Suicide: The Political Resonances of Individual Deaths (2017).
Sebastian Schuller graduated in comparative literature from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and currently holds a PhD scholarship of Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes while working on materialist literary theory in the age of globalization. Schuller has edited an anthology on the rise of the Alt-Right in Germany, Die Zeit der Monster (2018).
John Seed taught for many years at the University of Roehampton. His publications on 18th- and 19th-century British social history include Dissenting Histories: Religious Division and the Politics of Memory in Eighteenth-Century England (2008) and The Gordon Riots: Politics, Culture and Insurrection in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain, co-edited with Ian Haywood (2012). He is also the author of Marx: A Guide for the Perplexed (2010).
Peter H. Tu earned his doctorate in 1995 from Oxford University’s Engineering Science department. In 1997, he joined the General Electric Research Center, where he is currently GE’s chief scientist for artificial intelligence. Tu has 50 issued patents and over 75 peer-reviewed publications.