Abstract This article provides an overview of how public historians and other actors collect material on the global COVID-19 pandemic. Their common goal is to archive a diversity of perspectives to document these historic times. Focusing on initiatives that collect from a broader public and that incorporate some sort of crowdsourcing, I distinguish between two approaches: projects that collect something specific and projects that formulate their call more openly. The article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, what opportunities they open up, and what limits they impose on future research on the pandemic. The 10 selected case studies are based in 10 different countries, represent the variety of institutions that are involved in participatory collecting, and have all published their collections online and are thus useful for teaching and research worldwide.
Housing is a flash point in many European countries, with protests erupting and citizens voting to wrench properties from big investors. Inequality is driving the explosive debate, as households across the income distribution face very different kinds of challenges and opportunities in today’s unequal housing markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the risks and rewards already present across different subgroups. This housing-generated inequality creates a conundrum for governments that must balance the interests of competing constituencies with complex housing markets, and points to fundamental questions about how to order society.
The pattern of a knowledge-based society relies to a large extent on digital technologies and intangible outputs and generate considerable transnational financial flows and gains. These technologies also play a key role in providing free access to data and information, encouraging citizen participation in public decision-making, fostering transparency and scrutiny of government action and mobilising new players capable of identifying alternative means of civic and political participation worldwide. At the same time, the increasingly impact of online platforms in manipulating transnational public debates, and the surge in extremist groups using the digital ecosystem to incite hatred, hostility and violence are a warning sign that these modes of communication may be having an adverse effect on democracy and that the boundary between fact and fiction is not as clear as we may like to think. The US presidential election campaign and the Brexit referendum (2016), the theories about COVID-19 (that have flooded the web since 2019), the terrorist attack against French teacher Samuel Paty (16 October 2020) all highlight these trends. When the majority of the world’s citizens are using online media as their main source of information, the proliferation of disinformation and the related threat of radicalism and extremism have led to a growing awareness of these issues at international- and European Union level. What can be done to tackle the situation? How should the democratic states with new forms of private power in the algorithmic society? Where should the line be drawn between freedom of expression and media pluralism on the one hand, and intrusion and censorship of dissenting opinions on the other? How should information be defended as a fundamental right? Is there a moral or ethical code when it comes to information? How can be created an environment that is conducive to inclusive, pluralistic public debate? How to equip citizens to develop a critical approach and to take informed decisions? How to balance innovation with the need to ensure transparency and fairness? Could we be witnessing a situation in which algorithms are “dissolving” democracy? Drawing on the archives of the international and European multilateral organisations (UN/UNESCO, Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union) and several public and private stakeholders worldwide, this chapter proposes: a) to take stock of the issues and challenges raised by the proliferation of fake news, social media and algorithms, and their impact on freedom and democracy; b) to review the regulatory provisions implemented in this area at European and international level; and c) to identify future prospects.
Although the idea of Europe dates back to ancient times and was crystallised in the Enlightenment, the plan for European unification emerged in the second half of the 20th century as a consequence of an economic process based on a single market and a single currency. European integration is therefore a recent chapter in the history of Europe, one which has been written before our very eyes, but it remains fragmented into disparate national histories. In the 21st century, those writing the history of Europe find themselves confronted with a threefold challenge: they must meet the demands of the digital age, adjust to the paradigm shift within the historical discipline and navigate the geopolitical upheavals that the continent has been experiencing since 1989 (the fall of communism; the enlargement of the European Union; the many crises the EU has faced, including Brexit; the divide between institutions and citizens; the socio-economic consequences of the global crisis, including the COVID-19 health crisis; the new nature of transatlantic relations, etc.).
he paper draws upon photography as an active intervention into compromised environments and uses it to discover and develop new perspectives on past and future histories of education after COVID-19. These perspectives become particularly clear when seen against the backdrop of recent discussions on planetary responsibility and shared ecologies. The paper suggests that we shift our research agendas away from anthropocentric world views that have placed great emphasis on human sovereignty, modernisation, progress and/or decline, nation states and global governance, and the stratifying effects of education systems, without reflecting their ecological consequences. It argues that anthropocentric approaches to history of education have neglected the openness and vulnerability of the human body and its ethical, cultural and social proximity to other living creatures and the material world. The paper therefore focuses on what it means for historians of education to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, what it means to change research perspectives, and what it means to look at photographs that were produced in a state of exception. The paper sets out to propose a manifesto for a post-anthropocentric research agenda that anchors history of education and the history of pandemics in intertwined ecologies of the living and material worlds. The paper suggests that future histories of education cannot be written without considering the COVID-19 crisis as both a challenge and an encouragement to further develop our understanding of education.
Pest und Lepra gehören zu den schrecklichsten Krankheiten der Geschichte. Die Erfahrung mit diesen Seuchen hat sich tief ins kollektive Gedächtnis europäischer Gesellschaften eingegraben und wirkt bis heute nach – und das, obwohl beide Krankheiten schon lange aus Europa verschwunden sind: die Lepra seit ca. 300 Jahren und die Pest seit dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts. Im Beitrag werden historischen Figurationen von Lepra und Pest und deren Ursprünge in den Blick genommen. Dabei soll vor allem der Frage nachgegangen werden, wie die mittelalterlichen Gesellschaften auf die Bedrohung durch die Seuchen reagierten und welche Methoden angewandt wurden, um die schicksalhaften und unerklärlichen Krankheitserfahrungen verständlich zu machen und zu kategorisieren. Hierzu werden in erster Linie ikonografische Quellen in den Blick genommen. Denn im Gegensatz zu den schriftlichen Überlieferungen bieten die ästhetischen Dimensionen der zeitgenössischen Krankheitsdarstellungen einen tieferen und wirkmächtigeren Einblick in die Ursprünge der bis heute wirksamen Lepra- und Pestmotivik. Plague and leprosy have left deep traces in the collective memory of Central Europe more than other diseases and epidemics. The paper examines how medieval and early modern societies reacted to the threat of the epidemics and which methods were used to understand and categorise the fateful and inexplicable experiences with these diseases. Particular attention is given to the iconographic forms of representation of plague and leprosy, showing a particular significance in social perception until today. Recent examples from literature, newspapers, movies and computer games illustrate this relationship. It becomes clear that the aesthetic dimensions of contemporary depictions of disease, in contrast to written sources, offer a deeper and more significant insight into the origins of the leprosy and plague motifs that are still effective to the present day.
Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Countries: Netherlands, Luxembourg
The novel coronavirus spurred a keen interest in digital technologies for museums as both cultural professionals and the public took notice of their uses and limitations throughout the confinement period. In this study, we investigated the use of digital technologies by museums during a period when in-person interaction was not possible. The aim of the study was to better understand the impact of the confinement period on the use of museum technologies in order to identify implications for future museum experience design. We compared museums across four countries – France, Japan, Luxembourg, and the United States – by conducting an international survey in three languages on the use of digital technologies during the early phase of the pandemic. Additionally, we analyzed the Facebook activity of museums in each country and conducted a series of interviews with digital museology professionals in academia and the private sector. We found that despite a flurry of online activities, especially during the early phase of the pandemic, museums confronted a number of internal and external challenges that were often incongruent with their ability to offer new forms of digital engagement. In general, digital solutions served only as a temporary substitute for the museum experience rather than as an opportunity to usher in a new digital paradigm for cultural mediation, and many cultural professionals cited a lack of digital training as a limiting factor in robust ICT implementation. We also argue that the most successful digital engagement came from those activities that promoted a sense of community or an invitation for self-expression by visitors. We conclude with a framework that describes a ‘virtuous circle of museum participation’, aiming to support public engagement with museums through the development of content that builds on the interconnectedness of on-site and online interactivity.
The COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of the 2020s not only marked a dramatic moment in world health, but also the start of manifold and entangled global crises that seem to define a watershed moment with severe effects on education. Pandemics we know are recurrent events. Faced with COVID-19 some historians have looked to previous pandemics to understand the nature of the disease and its trajectory, and how previous generations have dealt with similar health crises. This special issue intends not to reinforce narratives of the past but rather to question them. The histories that have been written for this special issue Histories of the Past and Histories of the Future: Pandemics and Historians of Education offer insights that refer to past and future research agendas. They look at the mediation and circulation of knowledge during past pandemics, trace unheard voices and emotions of pandemics, analyse national policies and emerging discourses, and underline the entangled histories of education and pandemics. Collectively the articles brought together in this issue forcibly suggest that the most fruitful and rewarding way forward to studying past pandemics lies in thinking ecologically. By asses- sing the myriad consequences of living in ” pandemic times,” of confronting exposure, transmission, transmutation, disruption, and loss, and looking to community and collective futures we believe we cannot study pandemics and their impact on education and children's lives without widening the aperture of our research. Adopting an ecological approach will help us to not only actively engage with histories of the present and contemporary collecting, but also offer the possibility of new understandings and new insights into the dynamics and consequences of past pandemics.