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Viral Atmospheres: Maneuvering the affective geographies of pandemics and health

21. Sep­tem­ber – 28. Sep­tem­ber 2024 

CfA for a Sum­mer School in Berlin

Sum­mer School „Viral Atmos­pheres: Maneu­ver­ing the affec­tive geo­gra­phies of pan­demics and health”

CfA dead­line: 30. August 2024

Keynote speak­ers:

Frédéric Keck (LAS Paris, France)
Tania Ros­set­to (Uni­ver­sità di Pado­va, Italy)
Arne Vogelge­sant (Artist, Berlin, Germany)


Sung Joon Park (BNITM Ham­burg, Germany),
Han­sjörg Dil­ger (FU Berlin, Germany),
Julia Horn­berg­er (Wits Uni­ver­si­ty, Johan­nes­burg, South Africa),
Bo Kyeong Seo (Yon­sei Uni­ver­si­ty, Seoul, Korea),
Nene Mor­isho (Pole Insti­tute, Goma, DRC),
Jacque­line Häußler (BNITM Ham­burg, Germany)

Viral Atmos­phere is a trans­dis­ci­pli­nary sum­mer school on the felt spaces of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. The con­cept of the atmos­phere draws our atten­tion to the ways feel­ings can be under­stood to ’sur­round us,’ to be ‚poured into space,’ ‚occu­py spaces’ and are influ­enced by space, as recent works in neophe­nom­e­nol­o­gy have been char­ac­ter­iz­ing this concept.1 That is, an atmos­phere is essen­tial­ly a descrip­tion of the felt space—a Gefühlsraum.

In our sum­mer school, we sug­gest that felt spaces help us to enrich our under­stand­ing of the impact of the pan­dem­ic and the glob­al health response to it. For instance, an iso­la­tion room may be a three-dimen­sion­al space. Explor­ing it as a felt space filled with feel­ings of anx­i­eties, exhaus­tion, or ease helps us to get a grasp at the embod­ied expe­ri­ence of immo­bi­liza­tion dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Pub­lic spaces can be sim­i­lar­ly con­ceived as felt spaces of expo­sure that radi­ate feel­ings of mis­trust, vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, and fear. Or, explor­ing the dig­i­tal world of social media and the inter­net as a felt space may prof­fer new ques­tions for under­stand­ing how infor­ma­tion and also mis­in­for­ma­tion affects people.

The prac­ti­cal, col­lab­o­ra­tive, and trans­dis­ci­pli­nary engage­ment of the felt spaces of the
pan­dem­ic in our sum­mer school attempts to move beyond the ‚method­olog­i­cal nation­al­ism’ in sci­ence and pol­i­tics of pan­dem­ic pre­pared­ness and response.2 In spite of repeat­ed calls for holis­tic One World approach­es to health, research and action remain chiefly cen­tered on the nation-state and are per­haps more than ever defined by coun­tries of the glob­al North. By con­trast, we will explore how felt spaces allow us to trace the affec­tive geo­gra­phies of pan­demics and glob­al health. What prac­tices of visu­al­iz­ing and com­par­ing atmos­pheres, includ­ing artis­tic modes of expres­sion, can get the affec­tive geo­gra­phies to gel? How have peo­ple in dif­fer­ent places been expe­ri­enc­ing and maneu­ver­ing these geo­gra­phies and keep on maneu­ver­ing them as they search for a mode of remem­ber­ing the pan­dem­ic? Final­ly, we want to ask what can be learned from these affec­tive geo­gra­phies of pan­demics for future glob­al pub­lic health emergencies.

Viral Atmos­pheres has the fol­low­ing aims:

• Explore meth­ods and tools to study feel­ings in epi­demics, pan­demics, and oth­er public
health emer­gen­cies as atmospheres
• Doc­u­ment and recon­struct the felt spaces of pan­demics through the inte­gra­tion of
dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines and their approaches
• Map the affec­tive geo­gra­phies of the pan­dem­ic through trans­dis­ci­pli­nary collaboration

The sum­mer school invites stu­dents at advanced MA lev­el and PhD lev­el from a broad range of dis­ci­plines, such as social and cul­tur­al anthro­pol­o­gy, area stud­ies, geog­ra­phy, media stud­ies, visu­al and per­form­ing arts, as well as life sci­ences to par­tic­i­pate in a trans­dis­ci­pli­nary and col­lab­o­ra­tive sum­mer school. In par­tic­u­lar, we invite stu­dents, who work on:

• Covid-19 pan­dem­ic, epi­demics and more gen­er­al­ly pub­lic health crises
• Feel­ings, atmos­pheres, and affect
• Spaces, mobil­i­ty, and geography
And who want to
• Show­case their ongo­ing work in trans­dis­ci­pli­nary work­ing groups
• Make a con­tri­bu­tion to trans­dis­ci­pli­nary and col­lab­o­ra­tive out­put (spe­cial issue, online
exhi­bi­tion, book publication).

The sum­mer school will pro­vide lec­tures, sem­i­nars, and exper­i­ments by part­ners and
researchers of the VW-fund­ed research project „Mobil­i­ty Regimes of Pre­pared­ness and
Response: The Case of Covid-19″ by researchers in Ger­many, South Korea, South Africa, and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of the Con­go ( The researchers of this project will show­case works that extend the com­par­a­tive analy­sis of coun­try-spe­cif­ic expe­ri­ences of the pan­dem­ic toward a col­lab­o­ra­tive study of the affec­tive geog­ra­phy of the felt spaces of the pan­dem­ic. Fur­ther­more, the sum­mer school will com­prise prac­ti­cal exer­cis­es in trans­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tive research and pub­li­ca­tion on affec­tive geographies.

Orga­ni­za­tion and application

The cost of trav­el and accom­mo­da­tion will be cov­ered by the MoReP­PaR project. Please send us your appli­ca­tion (in Eng­lish) comprising:

• Moti­va­tion letter
• CV or in case you apply as a stu­dent of the arts a CV and portfolio
• Abstract of max­i­mal 500 words sum­ma­riz­ing the mate­r­i­al you want to present (sto­ries
from the field, data, video mate­r­i­al, sound mate­r­i­al, visu­al mate­r­i­al, …) and how you
want to present it (pre­sen­ta­tion of paper or art­work, per­for­mance, reading, …)

Send your appli­ca­tion to by 30. August 2024. For fur­ther inquiries, please do not hes­i­tate writ­ing to or