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The Role of Humanities in the Context of the Pandemic

Mini M Abraham, Ph.D

Bharata Mata College, Kochi

Kerala, India

Watch the video below for the talk by and discussion by Mini M Abraham.


In an increasingly technologised, commercialized, commodified and data driven world, the humanities represent the ideological, the intangible and the non quantifiable. Hence, there is a systematic and pervasive devaluation of humanities in academia and society alike. In trying times like the present pandemic, one is compelled to ponder anew about the role of humanities in the larger scheme of things. This webinar addressed two informing questions- 1. Can humanities play a crucial role in promoting an ethical representation of events? 2. How can the constituents that make up the ‘spirit of the humanities’- “critical thought, daring imagination, empathetic understanding of human experiences of different kinds and understanding the complexity of the world we live in”, be played out in the context of the pandemic? After delving into the views of experts and studying various texts and trends in context, it concludes by stating that if there is an ethical response at all possible in these troubled times, it must come from humanities research and writing. Thus, humanities should be ever present to analyze, interpret, critique and counter (if needed), the representation and narratives built by nation states and corporates by creating a public imbued with the very ‘spirit of the humanities’.

Keywords: humanities, pandemic, ethical representation, migrant labourers, exoticization, hunger, Other


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