Web-Talk Series: Social Impact of COVID-19, Indo-German Perspectives

© iStockphoto

The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be one of the greatest challenges that the modern world has ever faced. Its impact has been felt on all areas of life – personal and professional, social and political, economic and academic.

Since it is a global crisis, it requires a global response. Through this web-talk series, DWIH New Delhi and its supporters seek to utilize perspectives from India and Germany to understand several aspects that have had an impact on the society.


Day 1: Authoritarianism and Democracy in Times of the Pandemic | 15 September 2020, 5-6 pm IST

The current COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a massive challenge to governments all over the world. At the same time, it provides the opportunity to gain insights into the ways in which different regimes respond to a crisis on a global scale and how these responses are accepted or challenged. Some measures that governments have taken to minimize the spread of the disease constitute unforeseen interventions into basic democratic rights that would have provoked massive resistance under different circumstances. For example, the freedom of movement has been significantly restricted with severe consequences for the right to protest and the spread of misinformation about the pandemic via mass communication technologies has been met with restrictions on the right to freedom of speech. In the wake of these developments, some critics accuse governments of exploiting the pandemic to install authoritarian forms of rule while others suggest that authoritarian forms of rule have allowed the spread of COVID-19 in the first place.

This gives rise to a number of questions: Are there certain yardsticks of measuring the proportionality of governments´ restrictions on the rights of their citizens under exceptional conditions? What are the long-term consequences of the pandemic on the relationship between governments and their citizens? Do different forms of rule contribute to the spread or the containment of the pandemic?

This web-talk, organized by the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) and supported by University of Heidelberg, University of Goettingen and Freie Universität Berlin will explore these issues by inviting academic experts to provide insights that can help gain a better understanding of the current situation.


Registration for this event are closed now.

Prof. Christian Wagner, FU Berlin

Prof. Rahul Mukherji, University of Heidelberg

Dr. Lars Klein, Georg-August-University Göttingen

Prof. Shruti Tambe, Savitribai Phule Pune University

Dr. Indra Sengupta, Max Weber Stiftung; German Historical Institue, London

Day 2: "What About Us?" - Migrant Labour Dilemma During The Pandemic | 16 September 2020, 5-6 pm IST

The recent COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is fundamentally affecting societies and economies around the world while increasing inequalities and poverty levels. It is therefore, necessary to understand and assess how the pandemic has adversely affected vulnerable groups in particular. From the onset of the pandemic to the ultimate shutting down of businesses, industries and public life led to unimaginable uncertainties, especially for the informal sector at large and migrant workers in particular.

This web-talk will look into the socio-economic dimensions of internal and external migration; power relations; resistance to exploitation and subjugation of migrant workers; State policies, regulations and human rights issues affecting migrant workers. The aim of this effort is to explore the ‘migrant crisis’ using various academic approaches and to understand how India and Germany are reacting to the pandemic.

This web-talk is a collaborative project, jointly organized by the DWIH – New Delhi,  University of Cologne, University of Goettingen, Bavarian-Indian Centre for Business and University Cooperation and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


Prof Sucharita Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Prof. Dr Ravi Ahuja, Georg-August-University Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Susanne Brandtstädter, University of Cologne

Prof. Dr. Samita Sen, University of Würzburg

Prof. Prabhu Prasad Mohapatra, Delhi University

Day 3: The Big Digitalization Rush - How Higher Education and Research Organizations in India and Germany respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic | 17 September 2020, 5-6 pm IST

The corona virus pandemic has forced academic institutions around the world to find the instant effective ways to conduct their research and teaching activities with the digital means. Even before this crisis, global climate change had called into question the varied travel-intensive cooperation formats.

The aim of this web-talk is to display different responses, from short-term solutions to long-term digitalization strategies, as well as respond to the dire need to redefine mobility from “physical mobility” to “knowledge mobility”. It allows for a discussion of good practices and the generation of ideas towards well-functioning cooperation formats between Indian and German institutions. Given the present limitations on physical meetings during the pandemic, ad-hoc solutions and creation of “new workspace” to lessen the negative impact shall also be explored. Furthermore, future joint initiatives in digital teaching and research as well as new academic online formats that integrate Indian and German approaches are likely to emerge.

By exchanging perspectives on digitization strategies and good practice examples, stakeholders in Indian and German institutions may learn from the approaches and experiences of each other.

This web-talk is organised by the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi and supported by University of Cologne, RWTH Aachen University and Max Planck Gesellschaft.


Prof Dr.-Ing. Heribert Nacken, RWTH Aachen University

Prof Beatrix Busse, University of Cologne

Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Symbiosis International University

Prof Shravan Hansoge, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Dr Katja Lasch, DWIH New Delhi

Event Information

September 15, 2020, 5:00 PM to September 17, 2020, 6:00 PM

Organizer(s): DWIH New Delhi