Scholarship Online

In this age of COVID-19, one of the few bright spots has been that many academic talks and meetings have moved online, which means that anyone, anywhere can access them. Here’s some of the ones that have caught my eye!

(Yes, I’m writing this as much for me as it is for everyone else … )

Coming up on June 11, Aaron Jakes (New School) will be talking about “A World of Disasters: Famine, Plague, and Crisis in Global History

The profound upheaval wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has, understandably, invited a wide array of comparisons with past disasters. Of course, societies across the globe have grappled with unexpected, cataclysmic events throughout all of recorded history. But the character, meaning, and experience of such destructive phenomena have varied greatly across world regions and historical eras. In this talk, we will consider together how disasters might be “good to think with,” and how, more specifically, they might allow us to discern and map the movement of large-scale socio-historical transformations.

Presented by Aaron Jakes, Assistant Professor of History and Co-Director of Capitalism Studies.  Register now!


The always fabulous Nükhet Varlık, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University – Newark and the University of South Carolina, gave a talk for Harvard University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies program called “Rethinking the History of Plague in the Time of Coronavirus,” where she discussing plague in European and Ottoman historiography, questioning Eurocentric narratives and epidemiological Orientalism, and reflecting on how we can understand this history in light of the current pandemic. 

I still can’t quite believe I got to follow her in this series, talking about The ‘Spanish’ Influenza in Egypt” on May 6.


Khaled Fahmy (Cambridge) had a conversation with Mezna Qato (Cambridge) about archives and quarantines in 19th century Egypt for the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Science and the Humanities on May 8.


Elaine Van Dalen, Assistant Professor of Classical Islamic Studies at Columbia University, gave a talk on “Medieval Islamic Medical Perspectives on Pandemics from the Ninth to the Fourteenth Centuries” for Vanderbilt University’s Islamic Studies program.


The British Egyyptian Society hosted an online conversation called Eat Like an Egyptian! I enjoy food history a lot and can’t believe I missed this one …


I know there’s other stuff out there, so check back! I’ll keep updating.

Briefly…

I wasn’t quite expecting 5,000 people to have an interest in the ‘Spanish’ flu in Egypt, but … well, 5,000 people have read my previous post, which was also translated into Arabic (not by me, fortunately). And then I was cited by both The New York Times and Masry Al-Yawm, and have met (virtually) a few other people interested in the subject.

It’s been kind of exciting doing this all from the comfort and confines of my home, where I’m quarantined with a chemical engineer and three hyperactive cats (and a fourth who’s just above it all).

I’ve been trying to figure out what brilliant thoughts I could possibly use to follow up on the previous post, but none are immediately forthcoming, and they’re standing in the way of announcing, for those who are interested, this:

flier for Harvard talk

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 3 PM U.S. Eastern time (8 PM London / 9 PM Cairo), I will be giving a lecture on “The Spanish Influenza in Egypt” for Harvard’s Islamic Studies program online. The talk will cover much of the material that’s in my forthcoming article–the one that won’t be out until next year–so, if you’re interested, you might want to tune in. (I don’t know if it will be archived).

An RSVP is required, which you do by following the link on the bottom of the event page on Harvard’s Website.

I’m extremely honored to have been asked — the director of the program actually found me through my blog post! — and even more elated to follow the incomparable and brilliant Nükhet Varlık (Rutgers& U South Carolina), who is speaking on April 30th (also 3 PM Eastern) on “Rethinking the Plague in the Time of Coronavirus.” (You can RSVP for her talk at https://islamicstudies.harvard.edu/plague.)