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The Role of the Humanities in the Time of COVID-19?

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is doing a really cool project called History of Science on Call: A series of short videos by humanities researchers thinking about how to respond to our current, shared crisis.


I made a (too long!) video contribution with my own thoughts about in English and in Japanese on my own preliminary reactions.

The main idea I've been kicking around since the Japanese government's first big response to the pandemic -- to announce the sudden closure of elementary through high schools in late February -- has been the "feminization of crisis."


This phrase borrows from the term "feminization of poverty," which describes how the effects of poverty fall unevenly in a society's members according to gendered structures, institutions, and expectations.


In the month since I made this video, more and more evidence has emerged from a variety of contexts that scholars of gender will need to pay close attention to the feminization of crisis: from how this shakes out in the Global South to how this could skew academic publications.


And, as ever, gender studies scholars should think about what this means in terms of intersectionality, for those who do not fit neatly into a gender binary, and also for masculinity.


The humanities has an important role in analyzing, understanding, negotiating, and implementing policies to address this health crisis.

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