Histories of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fall 2020 Remote Field Study opportunity in collaboration with the UC Irvine Libraries
Susan Coutin and Richard Matthew

Throughout history, pandemics have had pervasive and enduring impacts on societies. In terms of its accelerated global reach, and the forceful responses it has triggered, COVID-19 is a novel experience for humankind, one that is causing considerable suffering and remarkable expressions of compassion, and that will likely catalyze many forms of social and behavioral change across the planet.

In the United States, COVID-19 has intersected with multiple forms of inequality and injustice, affecting people in dramatically different ways. It is important to record these diverse experiences, to be inclusive in assembling the historical record of this crisis, and to give future generations as complete an understanding of what happened as possible.

Through this project, students will document their own or others’ experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the social justice issues, including anti-Black racism, that are of current public concern. They will be trained in oral history and ethnographic techniques. Through writing fieldnotes about daily life, conducting oral history interviews, and collecting documents and images, they will have the opportunity to contribute to an archive that the UC Irvine Libraries are establishing to record the experiences of the UCI community.

Social Ecology Field Study students can apply to participate in the Fall 2020 course here.