COVID-19 Student Ethnographic Portfolio Project

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have dramatic, largely alienating effects on students and teachers at all levels.  At the same time, there is an urgent and growing need to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding in different living and working environments, and in different geopolitical contexts.  This is all the more important as COVID-19 compounds with other vulnerabilities and violences.  These disjunctive challenges can be addressed in tandem through an initiative to mobilize students and teachers to help characterize how COVID-19 is playing out in different places, and in the process teaching critical ethnographic research skills and drawing students into a large, on-going research enterprise. Project researchers/teachers will develop a rich portfolio of assignments that guide students through ethnographic knowledge production about COVID-19.  They also will develop sociotechnical infrastructure supporting 1) a community of teachers involved in the project, 2) incorporating student research into the broaders efforts of the Transnational Disaster STS COVID-19 Project, making student research visible and valued 3) free, open source, transnationally linked digital workspace for student ethnographers, their teachers, and more senior ethnographers. The COVID-19 Student Ethnographic Portfolio will include a growing set of assignments through which students can practice and reflect on ethnographic methods as a mode of knowledge production, highlighting the special challenges and obligations of “urgent ethnography,” especially with vulnerable groups.  Assignments will also be designed so that findings can contribute to the archive of  ethnographic material, analyses and interpretations being built through the Transnational Disaster STS COVID-19 Project.

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