The Autoethnographies of a Pandemic Project supports student researchers from Brooklyn College to craft autoethnographies of their own and their family and community experiences, both in the months and years leading up to the pandemic and over the first six months of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

There is a growing acknowledgement among researchers that the story of the Covid-19 pandemic is the story of inequality in the United States. New York City has been the epicenter of the pandemic and its unequal impacts. The day-to-day realities of the communities hit hardest by Covid-19—Black communities, immigrant communities, poor Americans, undocumented people—need to be much more clearly documented and understood. Autoethnographies of a Pandemic provides a window into various experiences during the Covid-19 outbreak, documenting and preserving a series of histories capturing the impacts of this moment in New York City and its hardest-hit communities. 

Essays by eight student researchers are being published as part of a series in Black Perspectives, a blog of the African American Intellectual History Society. Read the introduction to the series, by Jeanne Theoharis, Joseph Entin, and Dominick Braswell.

Principal Investigators

Jeanne Theoharis is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and the author or coauthor of nine books and numerous articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements and the contemporary politics of race. Her widely acclaimed biography The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks won a 2014 NAACP Image Award and the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Her  recent book A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History won the 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize in Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, The NationSlate, the Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, the Intercept, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.  

Dominick Braswell is a New York City–based activist. He received his BA in Africana studies, with departmental honors, from Brooklyn College in 2018. For the past two years, Braswell has served as a program administrator for the Mellon Transfer Student Research Program. He interned for a year with the SSRC’s President’s Office. Braswell will begin a PhD program in African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst in fall 2020.