Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Living With Plagues: New Narratives for a World in Distress

Day by day it becomes increasingly clear that COVID-19 will have wrought lasting changes in our common sense understandings of “how the world works” and “our place in it.” All attempts to project how society, politics, and economic life might evolve must begin with our efforts, as singularities, embedded in linguistic and social-political communities, to formulate in words our experiences – plural – of the pandemic, and of the hopes and fears those experiences have generated. The Buffett Institute, with the French Interdisciplinary Group, has inaugurated, in collaboration with Northwestern’s partner university, the École Normale Supérieure of Paris, France, a cross-border, cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-generational exchange of experiences, of thoughts about those experiences, and of theoretical exploration of those thoughts, as expressed by present and past doctoral students and faculty of the two institutions.

Test for COVID-19 in East Timor by Tadeáš Bednarz

Part I: Impressions and Reflections

“Impressions and Reflections” offers short essays relating life in the pandemic in a number of sites across the world.

Part II: Essays

“Essays” is composed of preliminary efforts to grasp the impact of the pandemic on our understanding of our being in the world.

Woman Sewing a Face Mask by Tadeáš Bednarz

More reflections and essays will be added in coming months. The exercise will – Corona Virus willing – culminate in a colloquium to be held at Northwestern, May 5-7, 2021. If you are interested in participating in this exercise, please provide your name and contact information to so we can share details as they are finalized.

About this collaboration

The Living with Plagues project is a student-faculty meditation on COVID-19, organized in partnership with the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), co-sponsored by the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and Northwestern’s French Interdisciplinary Group, and published with support from Northwestern University Libraries.