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Medical Humanities and Pandemic Urbanisms – Hackathon for the Humanities

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Medical Humanities

dateMay 7–8, 2021 locationVirtual Event
  • Center for Science and Society
  • Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture
  • Weatherhead East Asian Institute
  • Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Columbia Global Centers
  • Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics
  • The Institute of Comparative Literature and Society and the Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Registration required. See details.
Medical Humanities and Pandemic Urbanisms over background of yellow city map

Hackathon for the Humanities
Invisible Cities: 24hr Design Challenge

Starts with a short workshop at 12:00pm EST on Friday, May 7, 2021, and submissions for the competition need to be completed by 12:30pm EST on Saturday, May 8, 2021.

Faculty Facilitators
Lan Li (Medical Humanities, Rice University)
Anthony Acciavatti
(Architecture, Yale University)
Alumni Facilitators
Malvika Jolly (GS’19)
Adam Lee John (GS’18)

The pandemic has put pressure on the form of the city – exposing racial and class inequities that have exacerbated the uneven effects of the virus – while at the same time offering unique opportunities to break with the past and imagine our world anew. Arundhati Roy writes that pandemics can serve as portals between one world and the next – gateways into imagining and conceptualizing new models of communal living. Fredric Jameson, in a review of Margaret Atwood, suggests a similar notion: “[T]he post-catastrophe situation in reality constitutes the preparation for the emergence of Utopia itself.”

To explore these possibilities, we invite undergraduate students from across universities to participate in a virtual “Hackathon for the Humanities” taking place Friday, May 7 – Saturday, May 8, hosted by the Institute for Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Following a short workshop, participants will have 24 hours to explore a theme related to the urban landscape of the contemporary city and to devise a speculative alternative model for an imagined future city.

In this hackathon, we invite you to hallucinate possible futures. Teams will be tasked with composing a page in a book for 2049, and imagine a city of their choice through a keyword, such as HOUSING or FOOD.

Submissions across a variety of media are welcome – from written text to visual renderings, video, music, and others – and will be limited to a max length of two pages/two minutes. Submissions must be made by 12:30pm EST on Saturday, May 8. Submission directions will be given during the 12:00pm Friday, May 7 zoom.

Eligibility requirements:

The Hackathon for the Humanities is open to all undergraduate students at U.S. institutions and can be entered individually or in teams (max. four students). In order to compete, you must register for the Friday, May 7 zoom meeting at 12:00pm EST. This meeting will be recorded for participants who cannot join the workshop but you must register and verify your undergraduate standing by the start of the challenge to participate. Submission directions will be given during the zoom.

First place prize will be $500, followed by $350 for second place and $250 for third place. Submissions may also qualify for a future group publication. The prizegiving date will be announced soon.

The hackathon will take place using Miro.

This event is a part of our “Medical Humanities and Pandemic Urbanisms” series celebrating the launch of our new Medical Humanities major. Learn more about the major here.

Find all events in this series here.

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Please notify the ICLS office at [email protected] at least 10 days in advance if you require closed captioning, sign-language interpretation or any other disability accommodations. Alternatively, Disability Services can be reached at 212.854.2388 and [email protected].