NSSR Responds to COVID-19

As the spread of COVID-19 affects every part of life across the world, The New School for Social Research community is putting knowledge into action. Faculty, students, and alumni are sharing their expertise on how the pandemic is affecting immigration, protests, economic policy, workers’ rights, and emotional well-being.

Read on for more from our anthropologists, economists, political scientists, psychologists, and historians.


ANTHROPOLOGY

Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology:

“When you depict people as dangerous contaminants, you make dehumanization and elimination more likely. This is the precarious situation we find ourselves in today with the coronavirus spreading in a time of deep polarization, xenophobia and ‘othering’ in many parts of the world, including the United States.”

Immigration Impact: Coronavirus Cannot Become an Excuse to Label Groups of People ‘Invasive’

ECONOMICS

The COVID Policy Forum from the Schwartz Center for Economics Policy Analysis convenes Economics faculty and students to share their ideas on progressive policies and considerations in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Read updates from Professors Mark Setterfield and Willi Semmler, MA students Ramona Moorhead and Joseph Edwards, and more.


Teresa Ghilarducci, Schwartz Professor of Economics and Policy Analysis, has been been a major voice in advocating for workers’ rights, against budget cuts, and for more compassionate retirement policies:

From her Forbes blog:


Three Economics alumni and major voices for economic and monetary policy reform:


HISTORICAL STUDIES

Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History:

“Seen from the center of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., Argentina seems to be an example of political sense and health-related planning.”

Clarin: Mirada desde el centro de la pandemia

Claire Potter, Professor of History:

“Emergencies teach us something about what citizens want and need, and they teach us how to safeguard our economic system from grifters and market dynamics. The Great Depression, and then World War II, pushed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom to recognize social needs and respond to them. What progressives refer to approvingly as the welfare state, and conservatives as “creeping socialism” are the same ratchet effect regarded from two different political perspectives.”

Political Junkie: Governance in the Time of COVID-19

POLITICS

Mark Frazier, Professor of Politics and co-head of the India China Institute, interviews Jeffrey Wasserstrom on his new book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink:

“Hong Kong has a long tradition of making fools of forecasters (that goes back to the 1840s), and I’m continually struck as well by how often social movements take unexpected turns in all parts of the world. That said, while I hesitate to make firm predictions on this topic, I see good reason to expect a significant resurgence of protests. There have been some even as fear of infection has led to a drop in all kinds of crowd activities.”


Public Seminar: Life and Protest in Hong Kong Amid COVID-19

Patrick Ciaschi, a Politics PhD candidate:

“This is the alarming thing about the transmission of fear. It infects people’s feelings and actions, causing them to behave in ways that often run against their own interests, not to mention their larger obligations to public health and social life.”


CBC: ‘Nothing spreads like fear’: COVID-19 and the dangers of emotional contagion

Alex Aleinikoff, University Professor and head of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility

“For the first time in their lives, many Americans are now walking in the shoes of others. Or, rather, not walking. We are confronting government actions, policies, and admonitions that seek to dramatically limit how and when we move.

From these experiences, can we learn empathy for those around the globe for whom mobility is routinely and severely restricted: Syrians refugees trapped in camps on Lesvos, and Rohingya refugees languishing in Bangladesh; Palestinians confined to Gaza, and controlled by separation walls on the West Bank; Central Americans pushed out of the United States to wait in border towns in Mexico; Uighurs confined in “re-education” camps in Xinjiang; African migrants stopped in boats on the Mediterranean Sea and returned to Libya; victims of mass incarceration in the United States; poor people everywhere who lack the resources to begin journeys to improve their lives.”

Public Seminar: The Great Immobility

PSYCHOLOGY

Bill Hirst, Smith Professor of Psychology:

“We’re essentially being forced to retreat into our own private world so the notion of New York, where the city is an extended living room, is disrupted completely.”

CNN: Echoes of 9/11, as New Yorkers ‘try to keep calm but we can’t quite carry on’

Illustration credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS