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Themes and Projects

2020-21 theme


The Humanities and Social Sciences have a rich, if somewhat unassembled language and intellectual vocabulary for understanding and making sense of the way that aftermaths form a part of the human experience. In a year when the rupture of society imposed by national lockdowns around the globe thrust the language – and politics – of science and medicine centre stage, and awarded them a mandate to manage and control, there is a need to examine more closely what the humanities and social sciences can tell us about the way aftermaths themselves reshape “the plane of reflection” as Sartre put it. As we live through the most immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as this moment intersects with a host of other legacies and afterlives, the IHSS sets out to explore the aftermath in all its historical and cultural richness.

How to get involved

We will be organising a series of events and activity that bring us towards a better understanding of the nature of this moment in which we find ourselves. How will Covid-19 itself be represented and its learning experiences and legacies digested – be it through cinematic or literary output or through the medium of policymaking and public debate. We will be asking about the legacy of political movements and ideas, of visual and discursive frames, and we will be looking into literary and historical parallels to our current moment. If you are a Queen Mary University of London researcher whose work speaks to this theme, or you have ideas you would like to share, please let us know via email

Previous themes

2019-20: The Public

2018-19: Democracy, Mobility, Work


Supported actvities under the annual theme range from one-off events to projects.

Ongoing projects

The Public

Insights into the different ways the public can be imagined and understood

The Public


Part of the Leverhulme Trust funded Mobile People doctoral scholars programme


Working Group

An interdisciplinary group focused on examining the response to COVID-19

IHSS Working Group

Completed projects


The 21st-century global economy through different disciplinary perspectives



Exploring: Actors and Institutions, Scales of Democracy, Democracy’s Values