Charles Briggs, Professor

Closed (1) How Has COVID-19 Changed Your Life? Diverse Reflections on Pandemic Life

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

How Has COVID-19 Changed Your Life? UCB anthropologist Charles Briggs is addressing this basic question by conducting research that looks at how lives, work, family, and community have been shaped by experiences of the pandemic. It has two primary components:

First, I am interviewing public health officials, journalists, teachers, students, jurists, clinicians, patients, essential workers, people who have lost relatives to COVID-19, and others. The responses have been somewhat magical—rich, deep, unexpected, and moving. Most of the interviews are still by Zoom, but some have emerged in backyards, forests, and other outdoor locations. The experience of Black, Latinx, and Native American communities—particularly impacted by the virus—is important.

Second, a media component is crucial. I am continuing to collect mainstream media stories on COVID-19 but also looking closely at social media. Of particular interest in the latter regard is social media fora for exchanges between "long hauler" patients. In order to explore the broader matrix of discussions of COVID-19, things generally labeled as "misinformation" and "conspiracy theories" are important, and there are many sites where these views are exchanged.


I foresee two primary roles for participants:
First, help with the media component, in terms of finding, organizingh, and analyzing both mainstream and social media sources.
Second, transcribing interviews. This work is painstaking, but it provides an in-depth look at how interviews are conducted and how the kinds of knowledge they yield. And, as I said, what people are saying is amazing.
But other possibilities for engagement might emerging, depending on student interest.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Charles L Briggs, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: No specific qualifications. Ability to speak and transcribe Spanish would be helpful but not required of all participants.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Most of the work, both meetings and media/interview related research, will be virtual. Periodic meetings on campus also possible.

Related website: https://bcsm.berkeley.edu