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Forum 52: Covid-19 and the Humanities / Social Sciences

In the fifty-second number of Antropologicheskij forum / Forum for Anthropology and Culture, published by the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Kunstkamera), the European University, St Petersburg, and the European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford, our ‘Forum’ (written round-table) will address the question of the epidemic’s impact on the humanities and social sciences. We would like to invite you to respond to the questionnaire below.

You may, as you wish, directly address the questions presented here, or send in a text responding to one or some of them (or taking up some other issue that seems to you relevant). Whichever way, we would be grateful if you could keep your answers to a maximum of 10 pp. (1.5 spaced, 12-point type). Please use the author-date in-text citation system for any references in the format [Smith 2002: 12], i.e. author/date (no comma) in square brackets, appending a list of ‘References’ at the end with full publication details: Author: e.g. Smith M. A.; Article title: e.g. ‘Visual Anthropology’; Journal title: e.g. Ethnology. 2002. No. 3. Pp. 14–19; or alternatively, Author: e.g. Smith M. A.; Book title: e.g. Visual Anthropology. Place: Publisher, date, pages: e.g. London: Anvil Press, 2002. 356 pp. Please send replies by 20 January 2022 to, with a copy to; your email address should be included in any attached file. We hope that the discussion will appear in March 2022.


The Humanities and Social Sciences and Covid-19: Pluses and Minuses

For the past two years, research groups and universities have been exposed to the novel and unpredictable conditions of life during the viral pandemic, and to the constantly shifting restrictions on normal academic activities that have accompanied it. In particular, personal contacts – between teachers and students and between colleagues – have to a large extent been difficult or impossible. If experience has been broadly comparable in this respect, reactions to that experience have been very diverse, indeed to a significant extent polarised: for some, the social restrictions have been a disaster, while others have found them an insignificant nuisance, or even welcome. Given the familiarity of this situation to the entire academic community (graduate and undergraduate students as well as scholars and teachers), Forum for Anthropology and Culture proposes a discussion addressing the following points:

1. How has the pandemic affected your own (work) situation and the situation at your home institution? What impact has it had on any collective projects with which you are involved?

2. It is fair to say that the pandemic has had marked effects on the health of everyone in the academic community and their capacity for work. But aside from the medical aspects of the situation, it is in theory possible to evaluate the impact of the crisis in different ways. Have you yourself seen anything positive emerge from the new ubiquity of distant forms of contact (videoconferencing etc.)? Has it made holding conferences simpler, or more complicated? Has the number of collective projects dwindled, or been boosted? Does online teaching have any advantages, or are your experiences purely negative?

3. Has the enforced (self-)isolation created any new types of working practices or social relations that you would like to see persist in the future? Or would you simply like to draw a line under the epidemic and return to life as it was before the spring of 2020?

4. Have the humanities and social sciences evolved any new research questions and topics that directly derive from the pandemic, the social restrictions associated with it, and efforts to fight its effects?

Many thanks!


Editorial Office of the journal 'Forum for Anthropology and Culture':

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences

3 Universitetskaya Emb., 199034, St Petersburg, Russia

European University at St Petersburg

6/1А Gagarinskaya Str., 191187, St Petersburg, Russia

Phone: +7 (812) 386-76-36

Fax: +7 (812) 386-76-39

E-mail: forum.for.anthropology()

Forum for Anthropology and Culture:

ISSN 1815-8927

Antropologicheskij forum:

ISSN 1815-8870

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