University of Manchester: The Next Pandemic, Roundtable

woman wearing face mask
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Unfolding Our Shared Future talk series: University of Manchester Roundtable

Tuesday 6 December, 5.15pm-6.30pm, Samuel Alexander Building

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet and social media was overflowed with both accurate and inaccurate information about the disease, resulting in confusion and the spread of harmful messages online. This roundtable event will answer the following questions on the next pandemic and infodemic:

  • What lessons have we learned from the COVID-19 outbreak? How might these help us cope with the next pandemic?
  • Should we be more worried about an infodemic or a pandemic? Is there any distinction anymore?
  • Is it possible to have healthy scepticism in a pandemic?
  • What insights can the arts and humanities, and the social sciences provide for understanding pandemics?

The event is hosted by the University in collaboration with the American Politics Group of the UK Political Studies Association, the US Embassy in London, the British Association of American Studies, the Centre for Digital Trust and Security, and the School of Arts, Language, and Culture at the University of Manchester.

A recording of a related roundtable, recorded in May 2023, can be found here:

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A video recording of this roundtable is available: here

About the Chair

Peter Knight is professor of American Studies at the University of Manchester, and the author and editor of a dozen books on conspiracy theories, economics and finance in American culture. He is the lead for the Democracy & Trust research cluster at Manchester, and is the co-author with Clare Birchall of Conspiracy Theories in the Time of Covid-19.

About the Speakers

Claire Birchall is professor of Contemporary Culture at King’s College London. She is the author of Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip, and Radical Secrecy: The Ends of Transparency in Datafied America. With Peter Knight, she is the co-author of Conspiracy Theories in the Time of Covid-19.

Caitjan Gainty is Senior Lecturer in the History of Science, Technology & Medicine at King’s College London. Her research encompasses the history of health and healthcare in the US and UK, and she is the author of the forthcoming book The Product of Medicine (Duke, 2023). Dr Gainty recently received the Professor Sir Paul Curran Award for excellence in academic communication by The Conversation UK.

Elisa Pieri is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester. She is an expert on security, biopolitics, science & technology studies, and urban sociology. Her research is on pandemic preparedness and its social implications. Dr Pieri is the author of Pandemics: The Basics (Routledge, 2021).

This talk is part of a series, titled ‘Unfolding Our Shared Future’, which is delivered by the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association and the host universities with the support of the British Association of American Studies and US Embassy in London.