Common sense is an interesting thing. Particularly in those not infrequent moments when it becomes clear that it isn’t, in fact, all that commonly distributed and, quite often, doesn’t actually make very much sense. These moments offer an opportunity – even if quite often missed – to unwind, untangle, and unmake some of these articulations of common sense – hopefully in favour of something better. This is one such moment. After all, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew” (Roy 2020). We’ve been forced, collectively, to confront the question of care and the various conditions under which it’s extended to different degrees, to particular categories of people, in particular circumstances, and so on – the contingencies of care, in other words. In the face of the conspicuous insufficiencies that have been brutally exposed over the course of the past year and a half, it would be awfully remiss of us to eschew reimagining how our world and societies are arranged and organized.
In his third memoir, May Week Was In June, Clive James writes of his inability to stick to the syllabus:
Out of the three terms of my second and last year as an undergraduate, one and a half had gone by before I could bring myself even to sit down and assess the magnitude of what I had not yet done in the way of preparing to satisfy the examiners. When I finally faced the issue, I quickly realised that I would have a better chance of satisfying them if I offered them my body.
Thinking in Crisis Times: A Collective Exploration by the English Department 2020-21
The shift to online learning this year, however partial or temporary, presents a tremendous change in teaching and learning in our department. Because these changes are both profound and at the moment unavoidable, they have raised countless urgent and pragmatic questions for everyone involved. Staff have spent months in the lead up to September 2020 thinking about the best way to use the online systems provided by KCL, and students will have spent time grappling with their own questions about online learning, not least the way it will affect their university experience and long-term future.
Ruth Padel, Professor of Poetry at King’s College London reads from her poem ‘Still Life with a Map of the World Outside the Window’ from the new anthology Staying Human: New poems for Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe Books.
by Sarah Mir Sarah is a 21-year-old soon-to-be English Literature graduate from King’s College London who has an avid interest in writing/editorial work.
A common epithet to describe the coronavirus has been “the invisible enemy”. Not only does the use of the chosen adjective, ‘invisible’, hint at the nature of a biological threat, but it also perpetuates an understanding of the virus as an abstraction, this other-worldly description questions its reality. Continue reading Class of 2020: Graduating From a Distance→
From the Department of English at King's College London