Art-making as a political action can be healing and powerful, albeit its paradox and limitations. From AIDS to 9/11 to the current pandemic, art allows people to negotiate the past and present crises. It creates ripples in us that extend to places oceans away, and to another suffering human being. What are the differences and similarities of art-making in these crises? How is art able to relate to people? What are the moral responsibilities in engaging with aesthetics against the backdrop of great human suffering? In early April, we invited a literature student and an artist to talk to us about these questions.
For global universities that celebrate and rely on diversity, international mobility and cross-border exchange, there are extra layers of the COVID-19 impact. Confronted with the harsh realities of travel restrictions and border control, the foreign and study-abroad student populations have experienced a series of non-voluntary movements and emotional turmoil. How are universities in China and the U.S. responding to the unprecedented challenges? In dealing with the crisis, how are student affairs professionals “crossing the river by feeling the stones”? In early April, we spoke with three higher ed insiders, and this issue presents the highlights from our conversations.
A panel discussion: “Xenophobia in the Time of Coronavirus: Culture, Race & Stigma.” The panelists discussed the social, political and historical contexts in which China’s citizens, members of its diaspora and people of Asian descent have been stigmatized as carriers of contagion in the time of COVID-19. Looking at both history and the current phenomenon, the panelists examined narratives that link the imagining of an infectious disease with the imagining of “the other.” In addition, they commented on the recent reports of xenophobic incidents targeting African nationals in China, highlighting the historical and psychological roots of racial prejudice.
In this special episode, we want to take the time to mourn, commemorate, and remember the lost lives in the COVID-19 pandemic. The British-American poet Wystan Hugh Auden wrote the poem “September 1, 1939” in the wake of World War 2. This provocative poem expresses the poet’s deep disappointment, exasperation, and sharp critique, with hope rendered more salient in the last two stanzas. This poem sheds light on how we might remember and reflect and respond to the current pandemic.
In the past issues, we have attempted to speak to our readers not only through text but also through thoughtfully selected music. In this issue, we share with you a playlist of the eight songs that have been included in some previous posts. Of course, by doing this we are trying to give ourselves a much needed break. It can also be a much needed opportunity for you to look back at some of our earlier content. Click that “play” button. Let’s unwind, recharge and carry on.
Episode 2 | “To Write Poetry After Auschwitz Is Barbaric” – Is Literature Barbaric in the Time of Coronavirus?
Three conversations, four cities, five poets/translators – About poetry and literature in the time of coronavirus.
*Conversations in Chinese.
In this very first episode of our show, we present you an online panel discussion named “Women in the Time of Coronavirus: Action, Contribution and Media Representation.” Guest panelists are Alex Li, editor-in-chief of BiedeGirls; Sakura Chan, founder of GirlSUP Shanghai; and Jing Wang, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Shanghai. Along with Joyce Tan, moderator of the discussion, the three panelists shared their observations and thoughts on the COVID-19 outbreak through the lens of gender. Starting with the neglected needs of female medical workers on the front line, the panelists had a discussion on gender culture, media representation, civil society, and other social issues that intersect with gender.