Group Will Document How a Global Pandemic Has Affected New Yorkers

Historians in the News
tags: Columbia University, oral history, public history, COVID-19

How has the coronavirus crisis affected different communities in New York City? Have perceptions of the virus changed over time? What will the city look like after the pandemic recedes?

These are a few of the questions that the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) and the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) will explore in their latest multidisciplinary oral history project, the NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive, an ambitious effort to document the city’s experience of the pandemic.

Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, the CCOHR team—led by Peter Bearman, Mary Marshall Clark, Ryan Hagen, Denise Milstein and Amy Starecheski—has already begun this work. The team aims to survey at least 1,000 New Yorkers about their responses to the crisis. From that survey, they will identify 500 people to write diaries of their experiences as the pandemic progresses. In addition, a team of 30 sociologists and oral historians will conduct 600 in-depth interviews over the course of the 18-month project. This approach will produce a rich, composite picture of the struggle against COVID-19 as it evolves over the next year and beyond.

"The impacts of this pandemic are profound and all-encompassing. We felt a multidisciplinary approach would be essential to capturing the different ways people are experiencing and responding to the crisis, as individuals and as a society,” said Denise Milstein, the project’s co-director.

Read entire article at Columbia News

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