Teaching the Middle East and Latin America in the time of COVID-19
Date(s) - 07/08/2020
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies
About this Event
This year’s summer institute consists of virtual once-a-week 3.5 hour sessions for five consecutive weeks from July 8-August 10, and once weekly 1 hour virtual discussion sessions on Mondays. Each Wednesday session is divided into 2 parts, each with one guest speaker or activity.
It may be common to hear in popular media that we are now living in “unprecedented times” but in reality we are experiencing something that was quite common for millennia. As a matter of fact, pandemics were part of the regular rhythm of life for most people around the world, and perhaps the only thing that is “unprecedented” today was our expectation that we were post-pandemic.
Realizing this fact does not, however, give comfort or encouragement to our students who are living through a bewildering and challenging moment in history. Not only are we grappling with the disruptive effects of this situation as pedagogues but we should also aim to inform, prepare, and challenge our students in order to strengthen them in dealing with the days and months ahead.
Thus the purpose of this summer institute, indeed “unprecedented” is an appropriate term, is to provide through a month-long virtual format some of the tools and content that will be useful for teachers in designing engaging curricula for students in the age of Covid-19. How might historical incidences of plague in the Mediterranean and Middle East underscore the continued impact of global trade networks? How have colonial legacies in Latin America impacted the infrastructural and governmental capabilities in dealing with disease? What is the role of xenophobia towards and neglect of vulnerable populations, whether Middle Eastern refugee groups or indigenous communities in Latin America, in magnifying the intensity and probability of the spread of disease? What can we learn from cultural or “traditional” health practices of these communities in preventing the spread of disease?
The institute’s sessions will address important theoretical approaches to terms such as “disease,” “pandemic,” “public health,” and “quarantine.” Specialists will be presenting on their expertise drawn from a variety of fields, such as area studies, history, medical anthropology, political science, humanitarianism and human rights studies. Through a comparative approach that utilizes Latin America and the Middle East as two specific case studies, though with constant connections, influences, and impacts from/to the wider globe, we will explore both historical episodes of disease as well as the contemporary.
Our speaker line-up will be announced shortly.