Congratulations to Louisa Schein and her colleagues for receiving a Rutgers grant to study the impact of Coronavirus! Schein drafted and received this grant with Bridget Purcell of Anthropology on behalf of eleven diverse Rutgers faculty. The project now includes 5 research assistants as well.

Putting Stories to Work: Confronting the Pandemic Through New Jersey Narratives

“Putting Stories to Work” is a multidisciplinary collaboration of eleven faculty from Rutgers’ three campuses pursuing research on the impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized communities in New Jersey–one of the early epicenters of the global pandemic. The mounting U.S. state violence--both in law enforcement practices and through public health mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic -- has highlighted and exacerbated social disparities across the country. We focus on stories of individuals and communities from disproportionately impacted groups—particularly immigrants, refugees and racial/ethnic minorities--whose experiences of social inequality, precarious citizenship and documentation, structural racism, structural violence, and environmental injustices shape health and illness outcomes. Our team is part of the Rutgers-wide Society and Pandemic Working Group and includes faculty with expertise in anthropology, sociology, immigration, race, law, and health/medicine. We work with Rutgers students and research assistants to form a robust repository of stories from more vulnerable populations living through the pandemic, with a particular focus on the extended Rutgers community. Then, through analysis of dominant media and medical messaging, we put these stories to work as impactful base material for policy briefs, media pieces, and other public genres. By circulating our stories and findings through both public and professional channels, we aim to generate community action, undergird advocacy, and broadly impact policy and public opinion. 

Funded by: Rutgers University Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness