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In 2021-22, the UD Department of Anthropology is developing a number of programs, classes, and activities around our annual theme, Anthropology of COVID-19. We hope that students and other members of the UD community will join us in the initiatives described below!
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Right now, anthropologists are researching the diverse social impacts and responses to the disease around the world, and exposing the ways that this public health crisis intersects with other forms of injustice. At UD, our anthropology faculty are looking at the pandemic in relation to cultural meanings of risk, the effects of the pandemic on hurricane recovery efforts, the reshaping of gender norms and domestic labor, and issues of race and immigration, poverty and inequality, and science and policy.
Our work exposes the bio-cultural dynamics that shape health and illness and the inequities that multiply COVID-19's impact on vulnerable populations. It reinforces our knowledge of how events like COVID-19 do not happen in isolation but build upon existing issues. Anthropological research is essential for designing and implementing disease prevention strategies, strengthening health care systems, and promoting well-being in diverse contexts. COVID-19 is a disease on a global scale, but it is not a universal phenomenon. Anthropological research is essential for placing it in context.
This statement was written by Lu Ann De Cunzo, UD Professor of Anthropology, and is informed by Jean Segata, social anthropologist, “COVID-19 Scales of Pandemics and Scales of Anthropology," Somatasphere.
The Spring 2022 UD Anthropology Speaker Series features a set of internationally-acclaimed anthropologists whose research and community engagement demonstrate the myriad ways that people learn to live with pandemic disease. As a holistic endeavor that combines biological, cultural, and historical perspectives on the diversity of human experience, anthropologists are uniquely positioned to help us understand how communities are coming to terms with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to provide insights into the experiences of past generations who lived with pandemic disease. These virtual events will take place on zoom, separate registration for each event is required. Register today.
Julie Maldonado, Associate Director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), Co-director of Rising Voices: Climate Resilience through Indigenous and Earth Sciences, and Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program at University of California, Santa Barbara
Watch the recording
Seven Mattes, Assistant Professor of Integrative Studies in Social Sciences, Michigan State University
Kathryn Clancy, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois
Watch the recording
Shadreck Chirikure, British Academy Global Professor in the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford
Watch the recording
Dr. Jennifer Trivedi's research examines historical and cultural contexts surrounding disaster vulnerability, response, and recovery. She is now part of a team with the Disaster Research Center that is assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on hurricane recovery, changing definitions of “hazardous" jobs amidst the pandemic, coping strategies among UD faculty, how the pandemic relates to cultural meanings of risk and disaster, and the impacts of COVID-19 on college sports. You can hear more about Dr. Trevedi's research by listening in to the COVIDCalls Podcast and The Big Rhetorical Podcast, where she was recently featured. You can read more about her work on COVID-19 in the journal, Human Organization.
Dr. Carla Guerrón Montero is a cultural and applied anthropologist whose long-term research focuses on tourism, food, and the African diaspora in Latin America. She has recently argued that issues of race and inequality have powerfully influenced how COVID-19 is talked about among politicians and in the media, and she co-authored a letter to Delaware Governor John Carney about the need to protect highly-vulnerable immigrant populations across the state during the pandemic.
Dr. Georgina Ramsay conducted fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2019's Ebola outbreak and has written about poverty and inequality as key factors in how pandemics impact diverse populations.
Dr. Karen Rosenberg, a biological anthropologist with interests in human evolution as well as human health, recently organized a panel of UD experts to discuss the science of COVID-19 and potential policy responses.
Dr. Bahira Trask's anthropological research examines gender, globalization, and family change. She has written recently about how “shelter-in-place" policies can affect families and influence gender roles, especially domestic and caretaking responsibilities. To hear more about her research on COVID-19, see her presentation to the UD College of Education and Human Development and her presentation to the Universal Peace Federation.
You can contribute to research on the social and cultural dimensions of COVID-19 by sharing your experiences with the UD Disaster Research Center's Study on Community Impacts and Adaptations to COVID-19.