Tag: COVID-19

Post-Pandemic Architecture Needs to Be Healthier

As an architecture student, I’d normally be building a model in my studio on campus right now. Instead, six months into quarantine, I’m still sitting in my makeshift home office worrying about my friends and family. The death toll climbs every day and my mom, who has an autoimmune disorder, is in the high-risk population…. Read more →

The Problem with Pandemic Pay

Since March, my mother has worked twelve- to fourteen-hour days, seven days a week, processing thousands of COVID-19 tests. As one of over 6,700 medical laboratory technologists working in Ontario, she works toward fulfilling the government’s quota of 16,000 tests per day. But my mother is not a stranger to long hours or the threat… Read more →

Mind the Gap: Motivational Pressure and a Gendered Pandemic

In the midst of the pandemic, articles by journalists, public figures, and scholars on how to capitalize on time spent at home have been rapidly increasing, particularly those with suggestions on improving productivity. These articles employ motivational pressure to push readers to invest in “who they want to become” post-coronavirus. Suggestions range from quarantine recipes… Read more →

Cite My Name, Cite My Name

A couple years back, I was co-teaching a graduate course on gender history at the University of Edinburgh. I was advising an MA student on historiographical literature, and I asked her if she used Google Scholar to locate scholarly references. She didn’t, so I demonstrated how to use the search tool. As an example, I… Read more →

“All the World’s a Harem”: Perceptions of Masked Women during the 1918–1919 Flu Pandemic

During the influenza epidemic that ravaged the United States in the fall and winter of 1918 and 1919, cities across the country advised or required masks. Soon, discussions of masks took center stage across American media. Newspapers were filled with articles explaining how to make, wear, and purchase masks. From their inception, these discussions were… Read more →

Architecting a “New Normal”? Past Pandemics and the Medicine of Urban Planning

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. Months into the global pandemic, when many parts of the world have entered a second wave of outbreaks, health experts have cautioned the need for a “new normal” in which medical precautions guide most of our daily activities. Since cities have been hit hardest by the pandemic, policymakers have begun discussing… Read more →

Death, Distance, and the Digital World

My neighbor died as I was finishing this essay. We were two weeks into the stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. When the ambulance came, I stood on the front porch and watched the paramedics don hazmat suits before entering his home. His wife stood on the street as they loaded him into… Read more →

To Let Die: COVID-19 and the Banalization of Evil

The course of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a disturbing paradox as to how we deal with the disease. The two countries with the highest incidence and mortality statistics – the United States and Brazil – are the same places where there are large groups mobilizing against social distancing, mainly because of the actions of the… Read more →

“A keen vision and feeling of all ordinary life”: Pandemic Journaling in the History Classroom

In January 2020, I showed students a clip of historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in the documentary A Midwife’s Tale. Ulrich discusses how she reconstructed the life story of midwife Martha Ballard from the sparse entries left behind in Ballard’s diary. The diary covered all aspects of life on the Maine frontier in the late eighteenth… Read more →

Makers of Living, Breathing History: The Material Culture of Homemade Facemasks

Ten days into shelter-in-place orders after my kids’ schools closed, my family and I gathered around the table, staring at a mystery machine. The serendipitous early birthday gift from my mother-in-law – a sewing machine – had been meant for my sabbatical dream of learning to sew. Now, the material I had snagged from a… Read more →