About this online panel

Join SoF/Heyman Center for a virtual conversation with Rebecca Hayes Jacobs (Wellcome Trust Mental Health Curatorial Research Fellow, The Center for the Humanities, GC CUNY), Arden Hegele (Medical Humanities Fellow, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center in the Humanities, Columbia University), and María González Pendás (Public Humanities Initiative Coordinator, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center in the Humanities, Columbia University), to address ways in which the humanities can deploy civically engaged research and media platforms to help us better understand—and publically discuss—the complex relations between disease, cities, and their publics.

This event will take place as a public Zoom panel starting at 3:00 pm. Please REGISTER HERE in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Humans and microbes have always co-habited, and their relationship has had a profound influence on human history—especially in cities, the crossroads of the movements of people, goods, and germs. Dr. Rebecca Hayes Jacobs will discuss her work as co-curator of Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis, a 2018 exhibition at the City Museum of New York that explored the complex story of the city's long battle against infectious disease—a fight involving government, urban planners, medical professionals, businesses, and activists.  Planned to mark the centennial of the Spanish Flu pandemic, the show was organized in collaboration with The New York Academy of Medicine and Wellcome as part of the latter's international project Contagious Cities, a multi-city research and public humanities porject that explored the interplay of people and pathogens in urban contexts.

In conversation with Arden Hegele, Medical Humanities Fellows at SoF/Heyman, and María González Pendás, Coordinator of the Public Humanities Initiative at SoF/Heyman, Dr. Hayes Jacobs will address ways in which the Humanities can deploy civically engaged research and media platforms to help us better understand—and publically discuss—the complex relations between disease, cities, and their publics. 


Germ City exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Image courtesy Isometric Studio.


This event is sponsored and organized by The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center in the Humanities at Columbia University. Care for the Polis is an online conference that exists in a multi-temporal and virtual space. The conference is designed to reimagine how medical humanities and public humanities shape, and are shaped by, the city and its diverse publics. In a series of weekly Z-Panels, our invited speakers will discuss the effects of health on the conception of cities and publics—including, in the context of pandemic, the foreclosure of public space and what it means to become an online yet domestic-bound public. Together, we will address emerging concerns such as economic impact and recovery, domesticity and democracy, public care and public reconstruction.