Events

Waiting with Godot?: Pandemic Endings in Perspective

Hosted by the Department of International History

Online Public Event, United Kingdom

Speakers

Professor Mary Dudziak

Professor Mary Dudziak

Laura Spinney

Laura Spinney

Paula Larsson

Paula Larsson

Professor Michel Goldman

Professor Michel Goldman

Dr Michael Reynolds

Dr Michael Reynolds

Chair

Dr Victoria Phillips

Dr Victoria Phillips

Co-hosted with Department of History at Columbia University and University of East London

History, Culture and Diplomacy Series

This seminar moved from historical and legal perspectives on endings to set the framework for a discussion on the implications of the current pandemic as it winds down.

The seminar used the historical context to address events and conditions that may influence the way in which COVID-[20]19 both concludes and lingers in 2021-2022 and beyond. “No matter how eloquently historical ‘endings’ are proclaimed and how sympathetically we may listen, what seems most striking is the inability to connect these endings to any pattern of meaning,” wrote Paul Corcoran in “Historical Endings: Waiting with Godot,” published in 1989 as the Cold War was beginning to end. On the cultural front, in the midst of 2020, a Scottish rock band, made famous by their first single, “Instant History,” released the album, A Celebration of Endings. What are the implications of endings that are framed as “instant” and how do events linger?

Mary Dudziak, Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law, author of War Time and Cold War Civil Rights, opened with her reflections on COVID in the context of her work on armed conflict and the indeterminate endings of global warfare and the dialogue between national policy and international relations. Laura Spinney, author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World, discussed the final section of her book, “The Post-Flu World” and the conclusion of the 1918 Spanish flu in the context of 1919-1920. Paula Larsson, vaccine historian at Oxford University, discussed the idealized narrative of vaccines as the resolution and end of pandemics, and the complex realities of vaccine roll-out, popular hesitancy, and resistance. The legal and historical context sets the stage for Michel Goldman, founder of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I3H), former Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), who addressed the meaning of endings, interdisciplinary cooperation, and how we learn from past crises to address the future.

This was the second event in the History, Culture and Diplomacy series. The first event was "Mind the Gap": New Directions in History, Culture and Diplomacy in a Time of COVID.

Meet our speakers and chair

Mary Dudziak (@marydidziak), Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law, is a leading scholar of legal history and the United States and the World. She works at the intersection of US domestic law and international affairs. She is currently writing about war and political accountability in American history. Her earlier scholarship examined the intersection of race, civil rights, and US foreign affairs during the Cold War, and topics in twentieth century US legal history. Dudziak is the author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012); Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008); Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000) (2nd ed. 2011); editor of September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? (Duke University Press, 2003); and co-editor (with Leti Volpp) of Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, a special issue of American Quarterly (September 2005), reissued by Johns Hopkins University Press in March 2006. Her next book, Going to War: An American History, is under contract with Oxford University Press. Other works on civil rights history and 20th-century constitutional history have appeared in numerous law reviews and other journals. She has published essays in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, and other periodicals. She founded the Legal History Blog, and contributes to Balkinization.

Laura Spinney (@lfspinney) is a science journalist and a literary novelist. She is the author of The Doctor (2001),The Quick (2007), Rue Centrale (2013) and Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World (2017). Her writing on science has appeared in National Geographic, Nature, The Economist and The Telegraph, among others. Born in the UK, she has also lived in France and Switzerland.

Paula Larsson (@paulalars)’s research focusses on the history of medicine, with specific interest on how historical social and racial factors influence medical equity today. She is currently writing a monograph on the history of vaccine policy in Canada. In addition to her research, Paula is incredibly passionate about Public Engagement and in 2018 she co-founded Uncomfortable Oxford, a public engagement project that highlights legacies of historical inequality within the city of Oxford. She is affiliated with the Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at the University of Oxford.

Michel Goldman (@MichelGoldman), MD, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles where he is the Founding President of the I3h Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare. He was the first Executive Director of the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). He is the Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Medicine and serves on the boards of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, the European Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative and the Friends of the Global Fund Europe. He is also a member of the Cancer Mission Assembly of the European Commission and of the Leadership Group of the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative.

Michael Reynolds is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of International History, LSE. He is course leader of the UEL LLM programme, a solicitor and chartered arbitrator by profession specialising in international arbitration. He was a lawyer and an arbitrator by profession before completing his PhD in Law at the LSE in 2008. His research focuses on the processes of international arbitration and its application in the resolution of disputes between states in the period 1870-1914. He is particularly interested in the inter-action of the processes of negotiation and settlement in the context of diplomacy and international law.

Victoria Phillips is a Visiting Fellow in the Department of International History, LSE. She is the author of Martha Graham’s Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy (Oxford University Press, 2020), which explores the international political life of Martha Graham to promote the United States in over thirty nations for every presidential administration from Dwight D. Eisenhower through George H.W. Bush. She is a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics in the Department of International History, director of the Cold War Archival Research project (CWAR), the History, Culture and Diplomacy project, and History OnLine. Her articles have appeared in such varied publications as the New York Times, American Communist History, Dance Chronicle, Ballet News, and Dance Research Journal. She has curated several public exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and has lectured at renowned universities, colleges, high schools, and global institutes. At present she serves on the boards of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the European Institute at Columbia University, the British Dance Scholars Society, and chairs the SHAFR Task Force on Digital Resources. She is on the editorial boards of American Communist History and Dance Chronicle. Her primary research is held at the Library of Congress as the Victoria Phillips Collection.

More about this event

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.

Sponsored by the department's Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War research cluster.

Podcasts

This event is available as a podcast. Podcasts and videos of other past events can be found in our website.

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