Joint Lecture Series
Making Sense of the Post-Covid World: Continuities and Changes
26 April 2022 – 19 July 2022
Tuesdays 1:00 p.m. (Rio de Janeiro), 6:00 p.m. (Berlin and Hamburg)
The pandemic has produced ambivalent consequences for social life. Intersectional inequalities, combining, class, ethno-racial, citizenship, and gender inequalities, both between and within countries, grew during the pandemic and became even more difficult to be mitigated in the post-covid world. At the same time, the global virus has irrefutably revealed the high level of interdependency between different social groups, world regions, as well as between human and nonhuman living beings. However, this did not lead to more solidarity at the national and global level as individualistic and antagonistic responses to the pandemic have created and exacerbated divisions and divides. At the same time, these glaring problems came to the fore and demands to tackle them have grown.
This series of lectures seeks to discuss these ambivalent and long-lasting effects of the pandemic on societies: What has been the impact on social inequality and how does this affect the transformation prospects especially of poor countries? What is the impact of the global virus on world politics? How have the pandemic affected the sense of solidarity at the local, national, and global level? How does the global experience of living with and fighting the pandemic affect the treatment of issues concerning the planet’s common future, such as climate change?
To address these questions, the Institute for Social and Political Studies (IESP/Rio de Janeiro), the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS/ Hamburg) and the Institute of Latin American Studies (LAI /FU Berlin) have invited eight experts from different fields of social sciences to give digital lectures followed by debates with the audience. The lectures will take place between April and July 2022 and will be interposed by internal preparatory sessions at each of the organizing institutes. The series of events is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation within the framework of the Anneliese Meier Research Award conferred to Prof. Domingues, one of the convenors of this lecture series.
31 May 2022:
The Social Contract in the 21st Century, John Torpey (City University of New York)
Elite opinion in the United States has over the past several decades increasingly been shaped by a preoccupation with “identities.” The identities in question – racial, gender-based, sexual, and more – have proliferated and hardened over time, arguably driving wedges through populations that might be consolidated politically if they communicated in a different idiom, namely that of class. Is solidarity possible if subnational groups are defined chiefly in terms of their differences? This lecture/paper will argue that the emphasis on identity and difference is creating divisions that should be less salient if the aim is to create progressive social change and a more durable social contract for the 21st century.
John Torpey is Presidential Professor of Sociology and History and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has written a number of books, including Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics (2005), and many book chapters and articles in such publications as Theory and Society, Noema, The Nation, The Conversation, openDemocracy, Forbes.com, and elsewhere.