News

New Justice-in-Education Workshop on Ethnography, Isolation, and COVID-19

May 8, 2020 JIE Updates

Professor Neni Panourgiá has created “COVID-19 Auto-ethnographies of a vulnerable population,” a methods workshop for students who are part of the Justice-in-Education Initiative.

This workshop aims to provide students with the necessary skills to create ethnographic and auto-ethnographic reflections on the current COVID-19 health crisis. Students will learn to author a text that brings together their own experiences of prison confinement with their experiences of confinement and isolation on account of the current pandemic. They will also learn to elicit oral histories from their families, friends, and other intimates in reference to the current conditions of distancing.

This workshop unfolds in two phases: first an introduction to ethnographic methodology in order to produce ethnographic material on the experience of double segregation: incarceration through the criminal justice system and then isolation through the public health system. Students will be asked to read short texts on ethnographic methods in order to be able to write self-ethnographies on their own experience.

In the second phase the students will be asked to conduct short, salvage fieldwork with friends, family, and other intimates about the effects of this double isolation on their social realities. Students will then be asked to prepare texts that present as richly as possible the current landscape of their lives.

For additional information or questions about how to replicate this course for your own community, please contact Professor Neni Panourgiá at np255@columbia.edu.