In addition to its epidemiological aspects, the current Covid 19 pandemic with its dramatic effects on millions of people around the globe can also serve as a litmus paper for political, economic, cultural and mental conditions in the affected societies. How is this threat processed in everyday life, which narratives are developed in this context, which strategies of mental coping are applied, which processing in the form of rituals, commemorative events and the setting of public signs takes place? In the planned thematic issue of our review Spiegelungen under the motto After the Disease, the Institute for German Culture and History of Southeastern Europe (IKGS) at Munich, Germany, does not want to deal with the phenomenon of "Covid-19", which has already been described a lot on the one hand, but which cannot yet be assessed conclusively on the other, but rather invites scholars to take a look at the cultural consequences of historical plagues in Southeastern and Central Europe. These range from the various plague outbreaks from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, for instance cholera, smallpox, typhus, malaria, and dramatic livestock epidemics that particularly affected agricultural regions.
An overarching question for all submitted contributions should be how epidemics were dealt with in the multicultural societies of Southeastern Europe, in which Germans also lived in the past or still live today. As is well known, epidemics do not stop at national, ethnic and religious/confessional borders. But how did they affect the national, ethnic and religious/confessional structure of these societies? What everyday strategies – from jokes to anecdotes and caricatures to conspiracy ideologies and exclusion mechanisms – did people develop, constructing or stereotyping self- and other-groups? How were diseases reflected in the administrative practice of states (for example, in the handling of border regimes), what material signs – often in connection with a one-sided unifying statement (for example, the Baroque plague columns erected in many places as commemorative signs and at the same time symbols of the Catholic Counter-Reformation) – can be found in this space? How were they reflected in the production of cultural artefacts (literature, works of art etc.)? What demographic changes did diseases entail (such as migration processes)?
Abstracts of no more than 400 words for scholarly contributions in English or German are requested by August 1, 2021, at email@example.com. A selection will be made from the proposals – the latest deadline for final essays of up to 30,000 characters, which will still undergo a double-blind peer review process, would be December 31, 2021.