Residential Research Group on How We Make It: Imagining Medical Justice After Covid’s Long Haul, Spring 2022

Residential Research Groups (RRGs) consist of teams of researchers, often unknown to each other before residency, and assembled to work on a commonly-defined research theme or puzzle. They are composed, as the defining theme encourages and resources allow, of a range of UC faculty, visiting scholars (including recently graduated UC PhDs), UC doctoral students, and non-UC faculty. The organizing premise of the residential research program is that when the challenges of communicating across disciplines are surmounted, breakthroughs in knowledge become possible.

This call is for participation in the Spring 2022 Residential Research Group, ”How We Make It: Imagining Medical Justice After Covid’s Long Haul.” Please see the research agenda below for more information.

Applications must be submitted online via Submittable by 11:59 PM (Pacific time) on the deadline date.

Research Agenda

Convened by Professor Megan Moodie, Anthropology, affiliated in Feminist Studies and Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz.

According to an August 2020 article in Science magazine, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, known popularly as Covid-19, can “disrupt a breathtaking array of tissues in the body” (Couzin-Frankel 2020). Given the extraordinary social, economic, political, and scientific impacts of the current pandemic, the disrupted body of Covid is no less than the social body: the way that we imagine collective life itself, the web of care, responsibility, and accountability that holds earth’s animal and plant species together, is being questioned and remade before our eyes (cf Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987). There is no doubt that the pandemic has exposed stark, even deadly, inequalities: death rates due to Covid are highest among Black and Indigenous patients, followed by Pacific Islander and Latinx patients (Li 2020). Covid has also raised critical questions about gendered and raced politics of work, both in and outside domestic spaces, with some groups – particularly women, and especially women of color – bearing far more of the risk of the virus as front line health care workers, and far more of the loss when, as in December 2020, 140,000 jobs were lost in the United States and all by women (men’s jobs went up by 16,000) (CNN 2020). Against the backdrop of emboldened forms of white nationalism, the picture of social change in this era is often bleak. 

And yet, new forms of protest and organizing have also gained visibility and strength, from those that address anti-Black police murder and violence to those directly related to the pandemic, such as health care workers demanding relief from their high rates of exhaustion and burnout. Among Covid survivors, social media-based patient groups are growing every day, challenging traditional health disparities, questioning medical institutions and the for-profit industries (like private medical insurance) that sustain them, and building solidarity across previously divided constituencies in order to demand that the world after Covid will assuredly not look like it did before. As polio and polio survivors gave birth to twentieth-century disability justice movements, culminating in legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Covid and Covid survivors will demand new forms of inclusion and participation in healthcare and beyond (Finger 2006).

Building on recent campus-based collaborations on the study of the body and creative research practice, “How We Make It” will be a hybrid-residential think tank devoted to archiving and analyzing the social life of Covid, particularly as it takes shape in the lives of those Covid patients who have come to be known as “long haulers” – those whose symptoms do not depart with the acute viral infection. The hope is to form a collaborative group, comprised mostly of scholar-artists from disability studies, medical anthropology, film and digital media (including documentary filmmakers), and intersectional feminist studies. Participants will undertake two simultaneous activities: first, working on ongoing individual research projects related to specific illness communities, both virtual and “in real life,” with both historical and contemporary examples, and how these are interacting with the new patient communities of Covid (or not); and second, archiving and analyzing, in real time, journalistic reportage, scientific output, patient group conversations, media representations, and other forms of cultural output and interaction related to Covid-19 long haulers.

Studying such emergent phenomena presents researchers with significant challenges: No one discipline or methodology can possibly give us the breadth of vision required to understand the changes that are rapidly taking place. It is vital, as a result, that scholars from across a variety of fields in the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences be in sustained conversation about the same kinds of stories, groups, and research findings. 

The RRG welcomes applicants interested in working on the collective archive and pursuing individual projects that grapple with issues such as (but not limited to):

  • the social history of pandemics
  • public health policy in the age of Covid-19
  • the position of chronic illness in disability politics
  • the science of Covid-19, including epidemiology 
  • filmmaking as a tool in oral history and digital archive projects, with special focus on sound
  • illness and temporality.

This application is for those who want to be considered for the RRG at UCHRI in Spring 2022. Given the ongoing adaptability necessary for all research projects, this project will also have a second tier of remote research group participants. These individuals will be invited to remotely attend weekly research presentation meetings and collaborate on the long-Covid archive project. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to offer compensation, accommodation, or course buyout for remote participants. Please indicate on your application whether you would like to be considered as a non-residential/remote participant.

Application Details

The RRG application is open to scholars across the UC system, and a limited number of non-UC scholars (as resources allow), interested in participating in the research agenda with their own unique projects. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their respective campus representative on the UCHRI Advisory Committee well in advance of the application deadline for guidance in the application process.

Applicants must apply online via Submittable. Required documents include:

  • Short Biography (200 words max)
  • Project Title and Abstract (200 words max)
  • Project Description (2,000 words max. Please explain your personal research aims for the residence and explain how they relate to the collective research agenda)
  • Curriculum Vitae (2 pages max)

Individual applicants are selected based on their ability to contribute to the research agenda of the group.

For program-related questions, please contact Suedine Nakano, community relations officer, at Please include the name of the grant for which you need assistance.

For technical assistance contact Submittable at