Call for Papers: The 1918 influenza pandemic: Historical and biomedical reflections (Ypres, Belgium, 7-8 February 2019; Deadline 15 November 2018)

19 september 2018

At the centenary commemoration of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, many questions with regard to the origin, the development and the impact of this worldwide phenomenon remain largely uncharted. During a unique two-day conference, both historical and biomedical aspects of the disease will be presented and discussed, by historians, virologists and epidemiologists:

  • Where did this virus come from?
  • To what degree and how were its genesis and its rapid transcontinental spread caused and/or facilitated by the war circumstances?
  • Which genetic features of the virus explain its unusually high pathogenicity?
  • How did medical and political authorities react?
  • Why were some age groups spared by this dreadful virus?
  • Is it possible to fathom the impact of the pandemic both on the everyday life of citizens and on general developments in science, culture and politics?
  • How far can a historical approach contribute to the understanding of current-day pandemics, and vice versa?

In order to tackle these questions, an international and interdisciplinary conference will be held in Ypres (Belgium) on 7-8 February 2019. The Scientific Committee warmly invites you to submit abstracts of original research papers related to biomedical and historical aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which you would like to be considered for presentation at the conference. Organizing Committee

  • Marnix Beyen (co-chair), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, BE
  • Xavier Saelens (co-chair), Ghent University and VIB, Ghent, BE
  • Peter Palese, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, US
  • Anne Rasmussen, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, FR
  • Kaat Wils, KULeuven, Leuven, BE
  • Marc Van Ranst, KULeuven, Leuven, BE
  • Dominiek Dendooven, In Flanders Fields Museum (Ieper) and University of Antwerp (Antwerp), BE


We invite abstract submission that highlight historical, biomedical or both aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Closing date is 15 November 2018; you may submit your proposal through this page.

Image: Healio