CFP: Great Flu Pandemic

Cultural Histories of the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919:

Representations and Memories

International conference/workshop

19-21 February 2019, Goethe University Frankfurt

Funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung

Attacking in three waves, from the spring of 1918 into early 1919, in a short time span of just several months, the so-called ‘Spanish Influenza’ pandemic wrecked unparalleled havoc. Nevertheless, until relatively recently the study of this massive global catastrophe suffered from historiographical neglect in comparison to other major events in the twentieth century. It was largely subject to cultural oblivion in the public sphere, though vivid recollections were retained in more private settings. The centennial of pandemic offers a timely opportunity to redress some of the glaring lacunae in the historiography to date, especially the relative dearth of studies of cultural history and memory.

The conference/workshop sets out to explore a global-transnational cultural history of the Great Flu by examining representations of the pandemic in different countries and societies from the time of the events to the present day, with a particular emphasis on considerations of remembrance, forgetting and rediscovery.

The number of remaining places for participants is very limited.

Nonetheless, this being the only major academic gathering during the centenary of the pandemic to focus exclusively on questions of culture and memory, the organisers are encouraging last-minute applications from researchers working on related topics, in particular in geographical areas that have been hitherto relatively neglected in the historiography of the pandemic (such as regions in Asia, Africa and Russia).

Deadline for applications: 21 January 2019

Researchers interested in being considered for participation in this ground-breaking event should send by email a 250-word abstract, describing a relevant aspect of their research that they would like to present, and a short cv.



Prof. Guy Beiner, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

PI of ‘Forgetting and Remembering the Great Flu: Laying the Foundations for a Global-Transnational History of Cultural Amnesia and Rediscovery’ (ISF 1150/17).

Dr Steffen Bruendel, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt

Director of Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre

Dr Cynthia Gabbay, Freie Universität Berlin

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow

Contact Email: