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„4 years of Covid-19: Challenges and potentials of anthropological research in the later stages of a global pandemic”

12. Dezem­ber 2023 

Sec­ond meet­ing in the 2023 EASA Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy Europe Sem­i­nar Series wel­com­ing Palo­ma Gay y Blas­co and Sim­barashe Nyuke.

Lec­ture „4 years of Covid-19: Chal­lenges and poten­tials of anthro­po­log­i­cal research in the lat­er stages of a glob­al pandemic”

Tues­day, Decem­ber 12, at 2 pm CET on Webex. 

Reg­is­tra­tion via eventbrite

Our guest speak­ers are dr Palo­ma Gay y Blas­co and dr Sim­barashe Nyuke, who will speak on their Covid-19 research in the sem­i­nar titled „4 years of Covid-19: Chal­lenges and poten­tials of anthro­po­log­i­cal research in the lat­er stages of a glob­al pandemic”

It has been rough­ly four years since the first cas­es of Covid-19 were iden­ti­fied, a dis­ease which only a few weeks lat­er was declared a glob­al pan­dem­ic by the World Health Organ­i­sa­tion. The spread of the nov­el coro­n­avirus Sars-CoV­‑2 caused rapid and severe changes in the every­day lives of peo­ple, from strict mobil­i­ty restric­tions and hygiene regimes to iso­la­tion, loss of income and social net­works, as well as the death of mil­lions of peo­ple across the globe. As research con­duct­ed at the time out of neces­si­ty and/or lack of alter­na­tives due to loss of access to field sites and research par­tic­i­pants as shown, the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic was and is also a social issue, as it – among oth­er things – exac­er­bat­ed inequal­i­ties, polit­i­cal polar­iza­tion around ques­tions of reg­u­la­tions and vac­ci­na­tions, and gen­dered, racial­ized and socioe­co­nom­ic hierarchies.

Yet, although the virus still exists four years lat­er and poten­tial long-term effects of the pan­dem­ic are only becom­ing appar­ent, many have declared the pan­dem­ic to be “over” and pub­lic, polit­i­cal as well as aca­d­e­m­ic atten­tions seem to have turned else­where. How does this affect (med­ical) anthro­po­log­i­cal research and knowl­edge on the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic? What hap­pens to Covid-19 research which is just now being pub­lished or con­duct­ed? And what insights can (med­ical) anthro­po­log­i­cal research on Covid-19 pro­vide beyond the acute pan­dem­ic situation?

In the next Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy Europe Sem­i­nar we will dis­cuss these ques­tions with Dr. Palo­ma Gay y Blas­co (Uni­ver­si­ty of St. Andrews) and Dr. Sim­barashe Nyuke (Uni­ver­si­ty of Wit­wa­ter­srand), who con­duct­ed research on Covid-19 at dif­fer­ent times and in dif­fer­ent set­tings and will share their insights on both chal­lenges and poten­tials of long-term anthro­po­log­i­cal per­spec­tives on Covid-19.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Palo­ma Gay y Blasco
I am a social anthro­pol­o­gist, and have worked on Romani issues for most of my career. I am par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the devel­op­ment of col­lab­o­ra­tive research and writ­ing meth­ods and in open­ing up aca­d­e­m­ic texts and knowl­edge to par­tic­i­pant cri­tique. I co-authored Writ­ing Friend­ship: a Rec­i­p­ro­cal Ethnog­ra­phy, with my Roma research par­tic­i­pant Liria Her­nan­dez, a book where we exam­ine each other´s lives. In con­nec­tion with covid, I have co-edit­ed two vol­umes with Mar­tin Fot­ta, from the Czech Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, Romani Chron­i­cles of Covid-19: Tes­ti­monies of Harm and Resilience, and Ethno­graph­ic Meth­ods in Gyp­sy, Roma and Trav­eller Research: Lessons from a Time of Cri­sis. I also work on gen­der vio­lence, and have a new edit­ed col­lec­tion com­ing out on Gen­der and Vio­lence in Romani and Trav­eller Lives. I am now begin­ning to work on a new book, on a series of online inter­views that I car­ried out with elder­ly peo­ple in Scot­land and Spain dur­ing April and May 2020, about their expe­ri­ences of lockdown.

Dr. Sim­barashe Nyuke

I am a post­doc­tor­al fel­low in the Depart­ment of Anthro­pol­o­gy of the Wit­wa­ter­srand in Johan­nes­burg, South Africa. I have con­duct­ed research both for my Master’s and PhD stud­ies on migrants, unac­com­pa­nied child migrants, vio­lence, exis­ten­tial fear, reli­gion and urbanisms. That work informed my first pub­li­ca­tion titled, ‘Shift­ing Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties: Explor­ing Expe­ri­ences of Unac­com­pa­nied Migrant Chil­dren in Johan­nes­burg, South Africa’.
My cur­rent work is based on a project fund­ed by the Ger­man Volk­swa­gen Foun­da­tion titled: Mobil­i­ty Regimes of Pan­dem­ic Pre­pared­ness and Response (MoREP­PaR): The Case of COVID-19. This in part­ner­ship with aca­d­e­mics from the Free Uni­ver­si­ty, Berlin, Ger­many; Pole Insti­tute in Goma, DRC, and Yon­sei Uni­ver­si­ty, Seoul, South Korea. My inter­ests on fear, spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, inse­cu­ri­ty, and relat­ing these to the polic­ing of health informs my engage­ment in this project.
In this project, I con­duct research in South Africa, Johan­nes­burg in a town­ship called Diep­sloot. Fear dom­i­nat­ed the gen­er­al expe­ri­ences of Covid 19 reg­u­la­tions in South Africa which was high­light­ed by the approach­es and respons­es to deal­ing with the pan­dem­ic. Con­se­quent­ly, the South African case focus­es pri­mar­i­ly on the cen­tral­i­ty of polic­ing of health medi­at­ed through fear in under­stand­ing the extent to which peo­ple sub­mit­ted them­selves to the ideas of Covid 19 reg­u­la­tions includ­ing total lockdown.

Mod­er­a­tion: dr Ursu­la Probst